If you've ever woken up feeling as though your legs are made completely out of cement - then this could be a sign that you've exposed yourself to far too much activity in a single day. Overtraining and over-exercising can leave us feeling rundown, exhausted, and as though it's practically impossible to enjoy our usual range of motion, but there are ways you can avoid that tired, heavy feeling without resigning yourself to a day in bed.
According to recent research provided by Scholl, around 52% of women typically experience tired, heavy legs at least twice a week. However, there are a number of people - male and female - who struggle to maintain energy within their legs throughout the day - after all, these are the limbs that support you through hours of walking, sitting, running, and climbing.
If you're one of the many people who suffer from frequently exhausted calves, we have some tips on how to rejuvenate your legs with everything from warm water, to calf compression garments.
Step 1: Try Hydrotherapy
Grab a bucket, or fill your bath with Luke-warm water, adding a few tablespoons of salt depending on the level of water you're dealing with. Once you're ready, settle into the water, or dip your leg into the mixture for around fifteen to twenty minutes. This should be enough to promote higher circulation in your legs and reduce some of the left over tiredness that can lead to muscle soreness and discomfort after a workout.
On the other hand, if you don't have the time it takes to sit around dipping your leg in water, you could always just take a shower - making sure that your soles are wet, and the water is warm enough to encourage enhanced circulation.
Step 2: Use Calf Compression Garments
Although part of the problem that you may be facing with overworked leg muscles is a feeling of tightness - the truth is that using a set of calf compression garments could actually help you to feel a lot better. This is because these pieces of highly scientific material help to promote the proper flow of blood to the muscles in your leg - enhancing healing within damaged areas of the limb, and ensuring each part of your leg gets the right level of nutrients.
Remember, with calf compression garments, your highest level of compression should begin at the ankle, which will move the blood from the ankle and foot back up into the calf. From there, intermediate compression needs to be applied through the calf to move the blood up into the thigh and back towards the heart.
Step 3: Wear Looser Clothing
This may seem like a contradictory tip for how to rejuvenate your legs, since we've just pointed out the benefits of compression for discomfort in the calves. However, if you want to avoid that tired, heavy feeling, then you may want to think about wearing looser clothing. Calf compression garments apply pressure at exactly the right places to promote blood flow - but tight clothing such as small jeans or strappy high-heels could hinder your blood flow, and restrict your range of motion.
Leave the compression to the expert and embrace clothing choices that fit properly if you want to feel more energetic, and enjoy better mobility.
Step 4: Walk in the Shade
Some people suffer from heavy, tired legs because the veins in their lower limbs, and the valves within those veins that prevent blood from pooling within extremities, are weakened. This happens when you simply spend too much time sitting in front of your desk as part of an office job, or avoiding any experiences at the gym. Allowing that blood to collect in your legs will make them feel heavier, but walking regularly will help to keep the valves feeling strong, and your blood pumping.
Unfortunately, as tempting as it may be to take your daily walk down to the beach, excessive heat can dilate your veins - making you feel even more worn out. To ensure your legs don't overheat, try to stick to the shade, and wear the right sweat-banishing apparel to reduce swelling around your feet and ankles.
Step 5: Sleep as Often as You Can
Sometimes we simply need to be reminded that getting enough sleep each night doesn't mean we're lazy - it means that we're taking care of our body the way that we should be. You'll find that you have a lot more energy, stamina, and fewer injuries when you're at the gym or on the track - if you simply devote as much time as you need to getting some much-needed shut-eye. That means that you should be able to devote yourself to at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.
If you've had a particularly long run, or a leg-intensive workout day at your health center, you could always consider getting a quick nap to help your muscles recuperate.
Step 6: Put Your Legs Up (But Don't Cross Them)
Sometimes, figuring out how to rejuvenate your legs and avoid that tired, heavy feeling isn't as complicated as it seems. Throw on some calf compression garments and lie on the floor, or your bed, raising your legs up with your feet braced against the wall, to help promote the flow of blood back to your heart. Doing this once a night and once in the morning should help to relieve aches and heaviness.
At the same time, as comfortable as it might feel to cross your calves, remember to keep them uncrossed as much as possible. Sitting with your legs piled one on top of the other can restrict proper blood flow and weaken the valves in your veins. Instead, sit properly, and remind yourself to get up and walk around regularly too. This should help to keep your energy levels high, and prevent your muscles from going into a "sleep state" that makes them feel heavier throughout the day.