Whether you sit or stand at work, our 21st century life can take it’s toll on your legs.
Are you sat at a computer either hours a day and aware that your circulation hasn’t been moved for hours, or perhaps your job might involve a lot of standing and you’ve noticed that your legs aren’t as fresh at the end of the day – or even, long term – that you’re noticing muscle aches or more prominent blood vessels.
Of course, a health practitioner can assess the impact of both of these on your legs. And, then together, you might put in place an action plan to help you towards good leg health.
Support for your bones
Keep bones healthy by eating a well balanced diet including nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and boron, or consider supplementing with a bone-specific formulation. Research shows that glucosamine is beneficial in treating joint pain and arthritis. It’s derived traditionally from shellfish but a vegetarian alternative is now available and it’s often found in conjunction with chondroitin in supplements. Use it topically as a gel or patch or take it as tablets or capsules.
Massage can effectively relieve aches and pains – why not try a warming balm or oil containing ginger as well as lavender or calendula for their soothing properties or menthol for its cool, refreshing qualities. Creams and gels containing arnica can help reduce bruising and inflammation while horse chestnut (aesculus) tones blood vessels and could reduce the appearance of visible veins. Ginkgo biloba improves circulation while buckwheat and red vine strengthen blood vessels.
Take time for TLC
Do your legs need some TLC? The simplest of things – remembering to moisturise with a lotion or body oil after every shower or bath can make your legs feel massaged and soothed, as well as conditioned. There are lots of products available that use natural, non-harsh ingredients such as cocoa butter, avocado, aloe vera, jojoba or vitamin E and that are fragranced with real ingredients rather than man-made perfumes.
Regular exfoliation can keep legs glowing and soft. Look for gentle ingredients such as oats, or make up your own salt scrub then simply shower off. Relax in a soothing bath that moisturises as you soak or wake up tired legs with invigorating shower gels of mint, lime or lemon. Treat your pins to a weekly conditioning treatment – a face pack for legs and feet almost.
Shaving can lead to dry skin, rashes or ingrown hairs. You might like to try hair removal gels that use natural ingredients such as sugar, molasses, honey, lemon juice and herbs – unlike wax they don’t need to be heated and although the whole experience can be a bit gooey the good side is you’re hair-free for four to six weeks.
Best foot forwards
Well, your feet are attached to your legs and they can take a battering. Standing for hours, squeezed into tight shoes, teetering in high heels on nights out, your feet work hard and what thanks do they get?
Foot baths work wonders – warm water with a few drops of your favourite essential oil can help to cleanse them especially if the blend contains tea tree or essential oils with anti-fungal properties such as tagetes.
Keep nails short to stop them digging into your toes if you do wear high heels, train hard in the gym or go on long walks or other activities that can put pressure on the feet.
Overheated feet can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so wear natural fibres next to your skin and if possible choose leather shoes that allow skin to breathe.
Manage hard skin on your soles and heals with a pumice stone or exfoliator and then use a foot cream, gel or at the very least a body lotion to lock in moisture.
Look out for foot problems – such as corns or bunions as they arise and seek out a qualified foot practitioner to advise you about how you might manage this long-term.
There are a number of herbs that are known to help with leg health, two well-known ones being Ginkgo biloba and Aesculus. Ginkgo is known to increase circulation to the extremities (the hands, head and the feet) and Aesculus has been found to manage the integrity and structure of blood vessles.