Blood circulation:<br> What can be done about heavy legs?

Blood circulation:
What can be done about heavy legs?

1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men suffer from heaviness and fatigue in the legs or swelling in the lower limbs. These symptoms of venous insufficiency are sometimes difficult to deal with. They generally appear after prolonged periods of standing or immobility such as during long car or plane journeys, after exposure to high temperatures in summer or to underfloor heating in winter.

At issue: poor blood circulation

The sensation of heavy legs is in reality due to inadequate blood circulation in the lower limbs. Blood circulation involves complex but easily understood mechanisms. The veins are responsible for carrying blood from the arch of the foot to the heart. The walls of the veins are surrounded by muscles which contract to make the blood flow back up to the upper body.

Heredity, age, hormonal influences, the onset of menstruation, excess weight, constipation, sedentary behaviour and smoking are all factors which can weaken the vein tone, causing blood stagnation in the legs, which in turn causes the sensation of heavy legs.

Solutions for avoiding heavy legs

To stimulate the bloodstream, there are natural and simple tips and solutions that can be implemented to re-establish light-feeling legs!

What sort of sport for heavy legs?

Move! Regular physical activity is essential for a healthy veinous tone. If you suffer from heavy legs, you should take regular walks of at least 30 minutes per day to stimulate the venous pump in the arch of the foot. Swimming is the sport to go for.

Use cold water for venous problems

Finish your bath or shower with a splash of cold water on your legs, starting at the ankles and rising up to the thighs, to stimulate microcirculation of the blood. You can also try a gentle leg massage and the soles of your feet each day, using a cooling leg gel. It also moisturises the skin on your legs. Massage upwards towards the heart to activate the calf muscle pump.


Mechanically relieve heavy legs

Wear compression socks or stockings that massage and improve blood circulation. Avoid high heels and tight clothes which hinder proper blood circulation. Also avoid exposing your legs to the sun.

Add antioxidants and fatty acids to your menu: fresh fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins including vitamin C, small wild fish (herring, sardines), oilseeds and first cold press oils.

So many simple things you can do to improve your everyday life! Keep in mind during the premenstrual period when water retention might occur. Tissue swelling is common among pregnant women, who should take these precautions seriously.

Plants for naturally lighter-feeling legs

Horse chestnut, an inedible kernel unlike sweet chestnut (which is a fruit, in correct botanical terms) and Sweet clover, the "honey flower", much sought after by bees: traditionally used to reduce the sensation of heavy legs, to maintain normal venous and capillary circulation, to boost venous circulation.

Red vine, now a familiar sight in our landscape, whose red leaves contain a number of polyphenols, known to aid circulation and relieve heavy legs.

And finally, Witch hazel from North America, and a bit closer to home Butcher's broom, for their action on small blood vessels.