Tired, Heavy Legs? It Could Be Your Digestion

Heavy legsMany people report various descriptions for heavy legs.  Initially I am covering the achy, sore, or tired feelings that have only physical contributors to the condition, such as sitting at a desk all day (not medical conditions).

Sitting for hours can cause poor circulation which is a major cause of the heavy legs syndrome and if there no underlying medical condition and the feeling worsens when walking upstairs, then curiously enough, you might like to look at your diet for clues.

Heavy legs can be due to the quadriceps and hamstrings, but since the upstairs movement initially engages the quadriceps muscles, we can look at the small intestine.  This is because traditionally in Kinesiology, the quadriceps are governed by the small intestine meridian.  You may already know that I am a bit of a fan of Applied Kinesiology, I have had no personal training, but simply report my findings from my own experiences with practitioners.

Even in people who have no problems with heavy legs, the quadriceps can still be impaired as they are such a large group of muscles.


Foods that strengthen the quadriceps are yeast, Vitamin B, liver and spinach.  You could try eggs too, but try to eliminate wheat for a while and see if the condition improves.  It never fails to amaze me how the simple leg raise can show people in very basic ways how food can affect the body.

Simply lie on the floor and raise your leg, then lower it.  Take a piece of bread and press it against your jaw, raise your leg again and lower it.  Can you detect a heavier feeling with the bread against your jaw?  In people with gluten or wheat sensitivity, quite often the leg will feel harder to lift.  It is obviously a very basic test, but could be the catalyst to major improvements in your health and wellbeing, if you take it further and get professional testing.

If you are affected by wheat, try rubbing around the bottom of your ribcage and either side of the spine, just below the bottom of the shoulder blades.  There are lymph glands there that relate to the quadriceps.


Look at your shoes, are they comfortable and allow your feet to breathe?  Or do they compress them so much that you can see a visible bulging of the top of your feet, creeping over your shoes at the end of the day?  Some women’s shoes are so rigid and unforgiving that they do not allow for the natural adjustment in size of the feet throughout the day and can inhibit the circulation.  Leather shoes are better than synthetic ones – with a low heel.  Try insoles with an arch support too.


Exercise is a must to help prevent heavy legs.  The movement of the muscles helps to move the blood around, encourages the veins to open up – bringing fresh oxygenated blood to the muscles and taking away the old.  As the legs get the full brunt of gravity, unlike the upper regions of the body, pressure can build up in the tissues and result in the restriction of oxygen reaching the leg muscles.  Move around as often as you can during the day especially if you suffer with cold feet, as exercise will help get the circulation going.


You might like to try a yoga pose where you lie on the floor for 10 minutes or so, with your legs resting up the wall.  This can help decrease the collection of lymph in the legs and should make you heavy legs feel lighter.  Don’t do this if you suffer with glaucoma and some ladies may not be advised to do this during menstruation.  In bed, you could try sleeping with a pillow under your feet, if you have no time to put your feet up before bedtime.

Post Author: Max

Massimo (Max) Vencato holds a doctorate (PhD) in Sports and Exercise Psychology and a Degree in Sports Sciences (first class with honours). He works today as a cardiac rehabilitation trainer, personal trainer (specialising in weight loss) and lecturer in Sports and Exercise Psychology at Brunel University London.

5 thoughts on “Tired, Heavy Legs? It Could Be Your Digestion


    (October 10, 2016 - 6:08 pm)

    This is great that someone else sees the connection between food and heavy legs! I have been trying to overcome this problem that when I eat carbs or sugars my legs will become heavy. Unfortunately now it happens a lot and not right after eating. In the beginning of this problem first my head would feel like it was swelling then my feet would feel like they were strongly pulling downward. I think after I stopped eating daily a boiled egg the head sensation stopped. When I say carbs I mean yams (a slice) or banana ( a slice). I have Hashimoto’s and have been on a highly restricted diet: Poulty, meat, vegetables and low glycemic fruit, no grains at all. I think I have become Insulin Resistant from doing this diet for 1 year.
    Does anyone have a similar problem or a solution?
    Thank you,

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