Exercise and RLS

Twice recently I have forgotten to take Ropinerole for RLS, on the first day I was out camping and walking about for a good number of hours and the second time I walked up a big mountain in the Lake District. Both time I slept in a sleeping bag out side and both nights i was free of symptoms. Is there a connection?

Any advice will be great as i hate taking drugs every night


15 Replies

  • Who knows!? - Distraction is a huge component of rls. That's why it occurrs mostly when we are at rest. It could also be the cooler atmosphere camping out- were you in a tent or bivi bag? Delighted for you.

  • I do find I need the fresh air at night, so leave window open, but still take the drugs! Exercise for me does not help, in fact the extra tiredness often makes my sleep worse...its a mystery.

    Keep us informed with your camping and RLS, we may learn something new and all have to put tents in the garden!?

  • I couldn't agree more with Madlegs1! Distraction AND a change of routine is a huge component. RLS thrives on routine. You have to keep the demon "on the hop" - if you will excuse the phrase!

  • Thanks for the info everyone. I was in a bivi both nights, I hate tents. I will keep trying variations and see what happens. Thanks again. I have only just found this site and it's great to discuss things. RLS as a problem to me sounds so lame be its quite hard to a manage and discuss. Thanks

  • You may have been more relaxed as well - stress is a huge component in my RLS (:

  • It could be the position you were laying in while sleeping. Or if what you were laying on was more firm than your regular bed. There is certainly a component of the spine in RLS (Whitebuffalo sent a report that corroborated what I have been saying about the spine.) I take iron bisglycinate and calcium citrate, both of which help very much, to the point that my RLS is very mild now. (Sometimes it was ready-to-jump-out-the-window bad.)

    BUT, I also see a chiropractor, which makes a HUGE difference, in that he keeps my spine in good alignment, so the nerves are not being pinched (which pinching makes RLS so much worse.) I also do stretching exercises that keep the spine and other body parts very flexible and loose. I have noticed that my now very mild RLS might flutter a bit in one position, but goes completely away when I shift to a different position. A firm sleeping surface would tend to keep the spine more straight, at least while on your back. It is a possibility.

    But even if that is not it, look into the iron and calcium and a chiropractor. Other people besides my self have benefited from these things.

  • Bravo! You have really paved a path for RLS sufferers that is well-supported by scientific articles.

    Ferrous Bisglycinate to boost upstream dopamine transport to central nervous system

    Spinal manipulation to insure unimpeded transmission of dopamine in the central nervous system

    Calcium (and magnesium) for healthy nerves/neruons/neurotransmission of dopamine

    And for you ladies with insomnia - progesterone.

    We really are just a bag of chemicals aren't we.

    Speaking of calcium, just read that "calcium channel blockers" are not only bad for RLS but are also bad for iron utilization. In addition to blocking calcium from building up it does the same with iron. Calcium channel blockers are sometimes used for iron overload. Good for iron overload bad for RLS. I wonder for people who iron supplementation isn't effective if it's because of all of these other drugs we tend to take as we get older.

  • Well, thank you for your compliments, Whitebuffalo. I think that as we age (and everyone does if they live long enough. Only the -----fill in the blanks--die young,) we have to be proactive in keeping our health at a good standard. If people just sit around, mope around, feeling sorry for themselves, it does no good. Just makes thing worse. And there is a lot that is helpful in the alternative health category. That's where I am coming from, for the most part anyway.

    We do a lot of active things - a fitness center, big veggie garden, canoeing and hiking. I do not look first to taking drugs for things (altho, granted, sometimes that is needed.) And there is, as you know, a lot of info on the web, of different kinds. One has to sort thru it. I look at the web as a universal brain that we have access to. There is no one way to do things.

    I appreciate your info and finding sources of documentation on much of this. I hope other people are finding this of interest, as well as actual use to them. There is more than one way to skin a cat! (Just kidding! I love cats and have 2 of them.)

  • "Alternative" has a bad connotation. The bar of soap in the bed is alternative. However when a major medical center such as Johns Hopkins is using iron to treat RLS then it's no longer off beat but main street. Hiking and Kayaking are at the top of my list for weekend activities.

    I think you and I are coming from a better point on the RLS spectrum than most on here. It seems once people go down that dopamine agonist and opiate route there is no return to trying things like iron and calcium. My only hope is that newbies who come on sites like this and are relatively new to RLS or their RLS took a turn for the worse (as it did for me) listen to people like you, as I did, rather than people who have gone off the RLS cliff.

  • You're right. Alternative is not a good way to express it. It has gotten to be a catch-all similar to snake-oil. There are doctors with legitimate credentials who are seeing different ways of doing thing than just using drugs.

    I read in a book by Dr. Trisha Pingle, on iron for RLS (not the main focus of the book, but a section of it,) mentioning a study (for which she quotes sources in the back of her book) saying that researchers found RLS patients had lower levels of iron in particular regions of their brains, leading the researchers to the conclusion that low iron has a role in the development of RLS. She also says that iron is responsible for carrying oxygen thru one's body. If iron is scarce, your body chooses to send oxygen to your organs first instead of your limbs. This causes twitching, weakness and restlessness in your limbs.

    This is the best explanation I have read on the role of iron in RLS. There are other components to RLS, it seems. But this is a significant one.

    I was thinking a lot about what you said earlier about many drugs causing blocking of iron and calcium. Which, no doubt, makes RLS worse for people taking them. And yes, as we get older we tend to take more drugs, so this is a problem where people get caught in a vicious circle.

    We're on to something! I hope other people read these posts also.

  • I think each body works differently as I think exercise does not work for me, when I started going gym that's when i got RLS a lot but now that I don't do excercise it's calmed down but it could be because of the iron supplements I'm taking,

    But for you it does sound like working out a lot works for you, monitor it

    It's a good thing though which means instead of taking medication you just need to exhaust yourself during the day and you will be able to sleep which is opposite for me :( the more I do the less I sleep,

    All the best x

  • Sul03, what type of iron do you take and what time of day do you take it? I find that a capsule of ferrous bisglycinate before be tames the beast. It doesn't seem to work if I take the iron in the morning. Tis a strange condition.

  • I don't find exercise helps. As has already been said, it actually makes it worse for me. Perhaps with all that exercise you were extra tired so fell asleep quickly, and went into a deep sleep, before the dreaded RLS could kick off? I hate taking meds too, but have to because of spinal problems and the bonus is one of them helps with RLS too. As Eve has said, for me there's a huge connection between stress and RLS - in fact I think it's one of my major triggers and was particularly troublesome through my childhood. Distraction is a great tool against RLS, but almost impossible of course when you're in bed or sat relaxing. Everyone's different, and I hope you have found something that helps you.

    Should add - when you said it was twice recently, I'm assuming it was two totally separate occasions. It could be that your body can cope with one night without meds, but more than a night and you might have felt it?

  • Thanks MumofSam The two events were separate but it wasn't that I can cope with one off nights. I have tried to see if I can come off the meds but the first night I'm up trying to relax. Thanks for the advice.

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