Why Do Legs Get Heavy?

This is what Legology was created to tackle...

By Kate Shapland

I’m often asked where the inspiration for Legology came from and the answer is always very easy – me. Developing the brand – or at least Air-Lite, my first and hero product – came from a personal place, which many good ideas often do come from. I’m your typical female: cellulite, puff and heaviness – all of it gets me for better or worse from time to time, especially during warm weather when my legs start to feel like lead weights by the end of the day and my positivity and determination evaporate as the load gets heavier.

I’d thought about developing a product like Air-Lite for years. Literally years. All through my beauty writing years I searched for this product, and in 25 years I never found it.

Yes, there were leg cooling gels and creams. But most of them made your eyes water and then invaded your world with an overwhelming scent of  something menthol – usually eucalyptus. That just wasn’t a fragrance I wanted hanging around me. Especially not as the benefits of most of these products were too brief to bother with.

No one, it seemed, had made the connection between lymph, the heavy leg issue and cellulite.

If you get heavy legs – air travel and standing on your feet all day or sitting are other triggers – you’ll know all about the misery of this predicament; the tightness, discomfort and desire to just lie down until it all goes back down again. And you’ll know how long this can take. If you’re in a hot country – perhaps on holiday – it can bother you for the entire break, especially if you’ve taken a long haul flight to get to your destination.

Some years ago I went to stay with my sister in Argentina and I spent three weeks wrestling with my shoes day and night. I discovered on that trip that high altitudes, being in the mountains, also adds to the problem.

So why does the body react in this way for so many of us and what role do higher temperatures play in heavy legs?

When swelling occurs like this it’s known as oedema, and it’s a build up of fluid in the tissues. It can develop anywhere in your body, but your lower legs are more prone to the problem because of simple logistics – these extremities are furthest from your heart, and they’re also at the lowest point of your body, which means gravity plays a role. It’s all a bit stacked against your poor old ankles, feet and lower legs.

When heavy legs happen in hot weather the syndrome is called heat oedema and it occurs when your blood vessels dilate due to the heat, which allows fluid to build up. Heat edema can also be caused by having too much salt (or not enough salt loss) in your body.

While heat oedema is more common among older people and pregnant women, it often affects people who are not too used to the heat and can happen at any time in life.

The good news is that, while the puff may not completely go down for a time heavy legs are a temporary condition (unless they’re a symptom of lipoedema, a chronic form of fluid retention in the limbs) and heat oedema often resolves itself fairly quickly if you take steps to hydrate yourself properly, reduce your sodium levels, use the right products and elevate your legs somewhere cool.

Cue Air-Lite. This aerated, fluffy cream/gel hybrid was developed to be that product that you can depend on when your lower legs are feeling the heat. It contains a unique Lymphology Complex, specially developed by us with a powerful combination of properties to take down the puffiness, cool legs – properly for hours – and relieve fatigue, aches and pains.

One of the key pieces of the jigsaw in Legology’s unique Lymphology Complex is caffeine, a property that works particularly well (especially when combined with golden rod and butcher’s broom) to relieve the build-up of fluid around the fat cells that make legs heavy and cause cellulite.

Important too, to counteract the draggy, tired feeling that heavy legs bring, is the fragrance of Air-Lite. We scented it with a fragrance that evokes summer holidays – I call it the ‘holiday bubble’ smell – with Amalfi lemon, bergamot and rose. I wanted the product to deliver a properly uplifting experience, one that immediately helps you feel better – more energised and positive – no more how depleted heavy legs are dragging you down.

My 5 top tips on applying Air-Lite:

  1. In hot weather, keep Air-Lite in the Fridge – it quadruples the cool factor when you apply it to your legs.
  2. Whip your body brush over your legs, upwards from feet to knees, knees to thighs. If you have time, grab the handheld shower and switch it to cold, spray your legs with it then switch it to warm and do the same; repeat this a few times to encourage the lymph and circulation.
  3. Apply in an upward direction from feet to knees and knees over thighs to hips. You apply it upward towards the heart (as with body brushing) and towards lymph stations, where the nodes drain fluid from nearly organs or areas of the body. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, including the neck, armpits, groin, around the gut, and between the lungs.
  4. Use your thumbs to push the cream around your ankle bones and up your legs – over the sides, backs and fronts of your calves, and gently massage behind your knees to activate the lymph. Then use your thumbs to apply the product further up the thigh.
  5. Now lie flat on your back for at least ten minutes with your legs up against the wall to encourage fluid to drain back up your legs towards your pelvis.