Exercise and RLS

Hi all.

I had RLS as a child which reduced in adult hood. I'm currently training for a marathon. Only running 10k at the mo but finding I get severe RLS the few nights following the run which is impacting on my sleep. The only way I can relieve it is to lie with my legs up a wall for an hour or 2. Does anyone else experience this or have any suggestions? I know for RLS it advises exercise but I find that that's the cause for me at the moment!!

14 Replies

  • what time do you run? From what I have read it is best to exercise during the daytime and avoid high impact exercise in the evening. I have painful rls and am on ropinirole and gabapentin. However on days I exercise during the day I experience more pain and sometimes take cocodamol.

  • My run is generally of an evening. Will look at doing an early run and see if that helps. Thanks x

  • Strenuous exercise increases RLS. Best to keep exercise to early morning. Stretching exercises, yoga & pilates and weight training are generally viewed as better for RLS but keep it to the morning.

  • Thanks. Will try and change my run to any am start x

  • I walk at least 5/10k daily I power walk this helps me or I feel stiff ache etc what ever I do in day I walk it tiers you and helps me but still have RLS I also find stress makes it worse I had enough of that lately

  • I found that walking a couple of km helped my RLS but this might have something to do with helping arthritis or sciatica which might have been triggering some of the RLS

    Incidentally an osteopath showed me an exercise that really helped my sciatica. If any wants to try I will draw some sketches. The exercise hurts a lot when you start but as the sciatica goes away the pain in exercising also goes away. Works for me but I think there are lots of different "causes" for sciatica.

  • Yes please.

  • Yes please , I would love to have the exercises


  • Please send drawing ,sorry iam late in asking ! Regards Zappa

  • Walking or exercise later in the day can ramp up your RLS. So, like others have said try to train earlier in the day, morning is better.

  • Similarly, I trained for a 45 mile charity cycle ride and even 10-12 miles aggravated my RLS. I trained in the mornings but dropped to 1 or 2 runs a week due to a really bad spell. I did the run totally unprepared but got through and RLS symptoms dropped dramatically afterwards. Good luck!

  • My severe RLS started about a year ago - as I was training for a bike race (40 miles). I was unsure if I would do the race, but I kept training. The only relief from RLS was that technique of raising my legs to almost vertical (yeah relief - 2 hours sleep, maybe!) I had done a lot of low intensity riding (very low heart rate). The night before the race (still uncertain if I would race) I did a training ride at race pace - crushed it. I came home ate a plate of pasta and went to bed. I was up after 2 hours and didn't sleep a wink. I didn't do the race - RLS in my arms and legs, day and night. Curiously that I am training for that same race (June 10) - my RLS is essentially gone (thanks to Iron supplementation - but I have quit that many weeks ago). I still have insomnia - sleep 2 hours, just like the RLS days - wake up and usually get back to sleep, but not always. What a strange, strange affliction!

  • Seems oxymoronish that movement relieves symptoms but exercise exasperates them. But that can be the case. Especially intense and prolonged exercise. Best advice is to put as much space between your runs and bedtime as you can.

  • I need to have passive exercise, to keep the RLS under reasonable control,not necessarily regimented, i walk everywhere, and keep myself busy on my feet throughout the day, but the minute i do strenuous work like moving the furniture and up and down ladders, my RLS get worse

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