Spinning Away for a Sleep

The great exercise debate keeps rumbling on when it comes to any invisible illness, not just RLS. We've heard people say that you can tire your legs out simply by just going for a swim. This may work for some; for others, it does not.

Whilst I have been suffering from RLS, I have tried and tested each and every idea that pops up, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

My legs were aggravated by the heat of the hot tub

Very few actually help past the initial stage — things like pounding your legs on the jets in a hot tub can prove problematic.

As I don’t own a hot tub (it requires some financial input), I chose to go on holiday to thoroughly test this concept, as all homeopathic examinations must be completed in their entirety.

Granted, you exit the tub cooked to perfection, relaxed to a point of al dente spaghetti, ready for a fitful night’s sleep. Alas, my legs were more aggravated by the heat of the water than anything else, so be careful with this choice.

Considering signing up for activities at a local leisure centre

As time and sugar have not been great to this writer, the excesses of late have added a fair few inches to my waistline, poking my consciousness ever nearer to my local gym. Luckily, my gym is housed within a leisure centre along with a small swimming pool, sauna, and steam room (I have yet to experience the latter two, even though I am not sure what the difference is between them?!).

Taking the figurative plunge — as I cannot swim the actual plunge — will have to wait until lessons have been sourced, signing on the dotted line, condemning myself to a future full of strain and pain.

My first ever spin bike session

Heading into the mouth of the dragon is not quite so easy, however, especially when you are faced with a reception area full of young, thin, lithe, beautiful people. I must admit to doing a couple of laps and having a couple of false starts before I finally pulled up my big girl pants, sucked in my tummy, and headed into the belly of the beast. My first ever spin session was upon me.

Sitting on that bike with my ample posterior swallowing the seat, I was utterly ashamed when this 70-year-old lady swaggered into the room, jumped on a bike, and managed to blow most of the other riders out of the water! Pounding away in rhythm with the music, torquing the tension left and right to increase and decrease the resistance like a pro! Just like that, this lady proved that age most definitely is just a number!

I dared my legs to even think about RLS

Dripping sweat like a broken sprinkler head, I mopped myself up, drinking water at hopefully a quicker rate than it was being expelled by my unfit body. My legs and knees screaming with lactic acid, I dared my legs to even think about RLS that night.

As I had completed the spin class early in the morning, I had an entire day to go before I could see if my seated torture had made any difference.

My conclusion: Yes, exercise does help my RLS

My day consisted of not a lot of much, bookended by a short nap to encourage my body to "get with it" and cooperate, as I had a hair salon appointment looming that I really would have liked to stay awake in the chair for! Another cause of embarrassment is falling asleep in the hairdresser's chair. Having my hair tousled is a major relaxation for me, so sleep ensues 99 percent of the time. This large, almost middle-aged woman snoring her head off whilst having her hair dried — YES, it has happened!

By the time evening rolled around, bedtime was very welcome. Clambering into bed with the same routine as every other night, I found relief with my weighted blanket and exercise combination.

My conclusion: Yes, exercise does in fact help my RLS, but do I want to do that every day for a decent night’s sleep? MOST DEFINITELY NOT!

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