People often complain about weakness and pain in their legs. In simple terms, leg weakness means decreased strength.
This can result from poor blood circulation, nerve damage, over-activity, lack of exercise, arthritis, recovery after surgery, side effects of prescribed medicines, dehydration, diabetes, anemia, back pain, nutritional deficiencies and certain serious illness.
Muscle weakness can affect only one or both legs. The severity of the condition may vary from mild to severe. You can have accompanying symptoms like numbness or pain in the lower part of your leg, muscle spasms, prickling or burning sensations, redness, swelling, back pain, body aches, loss of muscle coordination and impaired balance.
To strengthen weak leg muscles, you need a well-balanced diet, adequate fluids, a good exercise routine and proper rest.
You can also use some natural home treatments to strengthen your legs and prevent further deterioration of muscle tissue.
If you are experiencing recurring or chronic leg weakness, contact your doctor to determine the cause. It may indicate a serious issue for which proper treatment is required.
Here are the top 10 ways to strengthen weak legs.
Regularly massaging your legs helps improve circulation so that more nutrients reach the weak muscles to make them stronger.
In addition, it helps reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. It also contributes to full-body relaxation and relieves stress and anxiety.
- Take some warm olive, coconut or mustard oil.
- Using gentle yet firm strokes, massage your weak legs for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this twice daily as needed.
2. Enjoy Regular Walking
Walking is a gentle exercise that helps build strength in your legs as it firms and tones the muscles. It also improves circulation.
Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes, at least 5 times a week. If you have difficulty walking, use some kind of support or consult your doctor for suggestions.
Along with walking, enjoy running, swimming, jogging, biking, trekking and similar activities a few times a week to help strengthen your weak legs.
3. Leg Strengthening Exercises
You can strengthen weak legs using a series of exercises that target all the major leg muscles.
Some of the best exercises that you can do at home are heel slide, quad press, straight leg raise, hamstring strengthening, Swiss ball squats, lunges, hip abduction side lying, adductor squeeze, resistance band knee extension and resistance band hamstring curls.
You must do these exercises 3 or 4 times per week, provided they do not cause or increase pain.
You can also do yoga and Tai Chi.
Always discuss the suitability of these exercises with your doctor. Also, learn these exercises from an expert.
4. Enjoy Sunshine
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle weakness, according to a 2002 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition journal. It also helps regulate two minerals – calcium and phosphorus, which are important for healthy bones.
Spending some time in the sunlight can help provide vitamin D as your body makes this vitamin with the help of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Simply expose your legs to early morning sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes daily.
Also, eat more vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, sardines, mackerel and fortified milk, orange juice or cereal. You can even take a supplement, after consulting a doctor.
5. Drink More Fluids
Dehydration is one of the main causes of leg weakness and muscle cramps. Rehydrating your body can easily reduce this condition.
- Drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
- Also, eat more water-based fruits and vegetables to keep your body hydrated.
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that can cause dehydration.
Note: People who have kidney problems must consult a doctor before increasing fluid intake.
6. Blackstrap Molasses
To maintain strong muscles and prevent leg weakness, you can try blackstrap molasses, which is a good source of iron, B vitamins, calcium and potassium.
While the iron helps fight anemia, B vitamins are essential for healthy muscles. Calcium helps provide energy to your muscles and potassium helps maintain the electrolyte balance in the body.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a cup of hot water or milk. Drink this once or twice daily.
- Alternatively, mix 2 teaspoons each of blackstrap molasses and raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water and drink it once daily.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective remedy for weak legs. It is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium as well as B vitamins that help make your muscles strong. Its acetic acid content helps your body absorb essential minerals from the foods you eat.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water.
- Add a little raw honey and lemon juice.
- Drink this tonic once or twice daily.
Milk is another good food that can fight leg weakness. This dairy product is loaded with calcium, protein, and other nutrients that help build muscles. In addition, being an electrolyte, it keeps your body well-hydrated.
- Drink at least 1 glass of low-fat milk twice daily to provide strength to your legs.
- You can even boil a glass of low-fat milk with chopped figs, dates and almonds, and then drink it for added strength.
Herbalists often recommend horsetail for weak legs. The high silica content helps increase muscle strength, assists muscles to contract and improves bone density.
In addition, it helps the body absorb and use calcium, which helps strengthen bones and muscles.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of horsetail tea daily for not more than 2 weeks at a time. To make the tea, add 1 teaspoon of fresh horsetail to 1 cup of boiling water, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, add some raw honey and drink it.
- You can also take horsetail supplements. Consult your doctor for correct dosage and duration.
10. Eat Healthy
One of the main reasons for weak legs is poor diet. Nutritional deficiencies can hamper circulation and cause fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps. In addition, it can cause general weakness and lead to other health problems.
- Include healthy protein in your diet to reduce weakness in the legs. Some good sources of protein are eggs, yogurt, soy foods and nuts.
- As muscle weakness can indicate a potassium deficiency, eat more potassium-rich foods like baked potatoes and sweet potatoes with the skin, bananas, plums, raisins, prune juice and tomato juice.
- Magnesium also improves muscle health, so eat magnesium-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, lima beans, and spinach.
- Eat more vitamin B foods to prevent numbness in your legs and build strong muscles. Some good sources of B vitamin foods are fortified cereals, eggs, lentils, bananas, wheat germ, beans, fish, oatmeal, cheese and yogurt.
- Avoid sitting or standing in the same position for too long.
- If you smoke, it is important to quit.
- Avoid eating foods that are high in saturated fats.
- Limit your salt consumption to prevent edema (water retention).
- Keep your legs elevated for some time to increase blood circulation.
- You can try acupressure and acupuncture to improve circulation.
- You can even take daily supplements of lysine and coenzyme Q10 to help reduce muscle weakness. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplement.