Magnitude and duration of acute-exercise intensity effects on symptoms of restless legs syndrome: a pilot study
- 59 Downloads
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that affects 5–15% of the population. There is increasing interest in exercise for managing the symptoms of RLS. To date, no research has examined the duration of acute-exercise intensity effects on RLS. The present study estimated the magnitude and duration of effect of two acute bouts of treadmill exercise at different intensities on severity of RLS. Eight participants (median age 44 years) with RLS completed three different conditions: rest, moderate-intensity exercise [50% heart rate reserve (HRR)], and vigorous-intensity exercise (70% HRR). RLS severity was measured with the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLS) Scale and daytime sleepiness was measured with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) pre-condition, 24, and 48 h post-condition. There was no significant effect of time on IRLS or ESS for rest, moderate-intensity exercise, or vigorous-intensity exercise based on the Friedman test per condition. Effect sizes based on the z-value from the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test indicated that moderate-intensity exercise had a moderate effect (r = 0.350) on IRLS in the first 24 h, but no effect on ESS. Vigorous-intensity exercise had a small effect on both IRLS (r = 0.191) and ESS (r = 0.210) in the first 24 h. Both conditions returned to normal or worsened within 48 h. Our results suggest that acute exercise, at either intensity, may have an immediate effect on RLS symptoms that dissipate within 48 h. These results highlight the importance of continual participation in exercise as a non-pharmacological approach to manage symptoms of RLS.
KeywordsRestless legs syndrome Daytime sleepiness Exercise Intensity Duration
This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the first author’s Master’s degree.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Katie L. Cederberg, Robert W. Motl, and Timothy R. Burnham declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- 1.National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. NINDS restless legs syndrome information page. 2015.Google Scholar
- 12.Koo BB, Bagai K, Walters AS. Restless legs syndrome: current concepts about disease pathophysiology. Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov (N Y). 2016;6:401.Google Scholar
- 18.Garcia-Borreguero D, Silber MH, Winkelman JW, Hogl B, Bainbridge J, Buchfuhrer M, Hadjigeorgiou G, Inoue Y, Manconi M, Oertel W, Ondo W, Winkelmann J, Allen RP. Guidelines for the first-line treatment of restless legs syndrome/Willis–Ekbom disease, prevention and treatment of dopaminergic augmentation: a combined task force of the IRLSSG, EURLSSG, and the RLS-foundation. Sleep Med. 2016;21:1–11.Google Scholar
- 23.Esteves A, de Mello M, Benedito-Silva A, Tufik S. Impact of aerobic physical exercise on restless legs syndrome. Sleep Sci. 2011;4:45–8.Google Scholar
- 24.Giannaki CD, Hadjigeorgiou GM, Karatzaferi C, Maridaki MD, Koutedakis Y, Founta P, Tsianas N, Stefanidis I, Sakkas GK. A single-blind randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of 6 months of progressive aerobic exercise training in patients with uraemic restless legs syndrome. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013;28:2834–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 25.Mortazavi M, Vahdatpour B, Ghasempour A, Taheri D, Shahidi S, Moeinzadeh F, Dolatkhah B, Dolatkhah S. Aerobic exercise improves signs of restless leg syndrome in end stage renal disease patients suffering chronic hemodialysis. Scientific World J. 2013:628142.Google Scholar
- 26.Sakkas GK, Hadjigeorgiou GM, Karatzaferi C, Maridaki MD, Giannaki CD, Mertens PR, Rountas C, Vlychou M, Liakopoulos V, Stefanidis I. Intradialytic aerobic exercise training ameliorates symptoms of restless legs syndrome and improves functional capacity in patients on hemodialysis: a pilot study. ASAIO. 2008;54:185–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 27.Giannaki CD, Sakkas GK, Karatzaferi C, Hadjigeorgiou GM, Lavdas E, Kyriakides T, Koutedakis Y, Stefanidis I. Effect of exercise training and dopamine agonists in patients with uremic restless legs syndrome: a six-month randomized, partially double-blind, placebo-controlled comparative study. BMC Nephrol. 2013;14:194.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 29.Allen RP, Picchietti D, Hening WA, Trenkwalder C, Walters AS, Montplaisi J. Restless legs syndrome: diagnostic criteria, special considerations, and epidemiology. A report from the restless legs syndrome diagnosis and epidemiology workshop at the National Institutes of Health. Sleep Med. 2003;4:101–19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 35.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current physical activity guidelines. 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/policies_practices/physical_activity/guidelines.htm. Accessed 5 Dec 2017
- 40.Allen RP, Picchietti DL, Garcia-Borreguero D, Ondo WG, Walters AS, Winkelman JW, Zucconi M, Ferri R, Trenkwalder C, Lee HB. Restless legs syndrome/Willis–Ekbom disease diagnostic criteria: updated International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group (IRLSSG) consensus criteria–history, rationale, description, and significance. Sleep Med. 2014;15:860–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar