Your diet and nutrition can impact your body in ways that you may not have thought possible. Certain vitamins and minerals help your muscles move, keep your bones strong and regulate your body's water supply. If your nutrition has taken a backseat, you may experience side effects such as tired or restless legs, weak muscles or even brittle bones.
Vitamin D Deficiency
If your legs feel tired and weak, it could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A vitamin D deficiency can cause your legs to feel heavy, tire easily and experience general muscle weakness. Your body can make its own vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Alternatively, you can obtain it from dietary sources such as fatty fish, milk, cereals and other foods formulated with vitamin D. Adults should consume around 200 International Units per day, but it may be possible to develop a vitamin D deficiency if you don't live in a sunny environment or as you age and body isn't able to produce as much vitamin D as it once did. Ask your doctor about testing your vitamin D levels and about the possibility of taking a vitamin D supplement.
Not getting enough iron can make your legs feel tired, HelpGuide.org reports. An iron deficiency can cause restless leg syndrome, or RLS. One of the symptoms of RLS is a tired and heavy feeling in your legs. This predominantly happens when you lie down or rest, and usually only affects you during bedtime, but it can occur much earlier in the day depending upon your deficiency. Your legs may also have an itching or crawling sensation. These symptoms are usually alleviated by walking around for a few minutes or giving your legs a good stretch, but the symptoms may return as soon as you lie down again.
Magnesium is involved in more than 300 different systems that orchestrate chemical reactions in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health. One of those reactions involves muscle and nerve function. In fact, one of the first signs of magnesium deficiency is fatigue, weakness and muscle cramps.
Overeating can cause you to become overweight or obese. These additional pounds can cause your legs to tire easily and have a feeling of heaviness. The excess weight could also wear on the cartilage between bones, such as the space around your knee cap. Broken down cartilage can be very painful. Carrying around too much weight can also cause arthritis in your bones, or osteoarthritis, according to TeensHealth. Changing your diet to include more nutritious foods can help you lose weight and give you more energy. Opt for whole grains, fruits and veggies. These foods are lower in calories when compared to fast food meals and junk food items such as potato chips, cookies and snack cakes.
Don't hesitate to talk to your physician if you experience tired legs. Having tired legs is no laughing matter; it can indicate some serious underlying conditions. If your diet is full of nutritious foods, you may have an injury in some part of your leg. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
- HelpGuide.org: Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): Symptoms, Treatment and Self-Help
- TeensHealth: When Being Overweight Is a Health Problem
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Vitamin D Deficiency, Muscle Function and Falls in Elderly People
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium