Benefits of Elevating Your Legs For 20 Minutes Per Day

November 12, 2019
Just by elevating our legs, we can improve our posture, help loosen trapped fluids and stimulate vein drainage, which is often hindered by gravity during the day.

Why do we need to elevate our legs?

Elevating your legs is an exercise which can have many benefits for your health. It’s really simple to do, and will only take up 20 minutes of your day.

Our hearts have to work hard to make sure the blood flow reaches all our extremities.

If you suffer from chronic vein insufficiency (IVC), you’ll know that some of the symptoms include varicose veins, cramps, or a feeling of tiredness in the legs. One piece of advice commonly given to those who suffer from IVC is to elevate the legs above heart level for a few minutes each day.

While there is no concrete evidence corroborating these claims, we have come across several studies which seem fairly promising.

If your job or lifestyle requires you to spend long hours on your feet or sitting in the same position, there’s no harm in trying out these simple exercises to give your legs a rest and improve your circulation.

So, what does this exercise consist of?

Benefits of elevating legs in park on a sunny day

As it doesn’t involve any physical exertion or muscle tension, this isn’t exactly an exercise. In fact, it’s more like a yoga pose. Yoga is often used to to establish a greater connection between the mind and the body, and has also been known to improve circulation.

However, if you are suffering from any kind of back injury, we would not recommend using this technique.

  • First, place a small cushion under your lower back to help you achieve a more balanced posture. The idea is to have your legs flat against the wall in a fully vertical position, with your arms extended and relaxed.
  • Now, all you need to do is maintain this position for at least 15 – 20 minutes. You don’t need to do anything else. Simply try to feel the balance of your body, and enjoy the sensation of improved blood flow to your head and chest.

When doing this pose, it’s important to wear loose, comfortable clothes that aren’t tight around the waist or ankles. Any clothes that are excessively tight can end up getting in the way of the whole purpose of this exercise: improving blood circulation.

5 Amazing benefits of elevating your legs
Woman doing yoga at home benefits of elevating your legs

1. Reduce edema in the legs and feet

Poor circulation is one of the main causes of edema in the legs and feet.

Problems with circulation can have a number of underlying causes, including renal and cardiac issues, and obesity (whether the result of a poor diet, or medication).

The first and most important step is to find out the cause and treat it. Later, you can try out these home remedies, which may offer you some relief.

Holding your legs above your heart promotes the movement of fluids that sometimes hinder proper blood circulation.

Spending all day on your feet can sometimes cause them to swell. As a result, something as simple as kicking off your shoes and elevating your legs against the wall can allow the forces of gravity to help reduce inflammation in these problematic areas.

2. Relieve tired legs

Elevating your legs is one of the simplest and best ways to help relieve tension in the legs, feet, and even the hips.

These three areas are the ones that tend to suffer most at the end of a long day. By doing this exercise for 20 minute, you change your posture, helping to release tension in these areas. This is said to provide remarkable relief.

3. Improve digestion

Putting your legs in the air is also an exercise commonly used in something known as “active investment”.

Several studies claim that this pose can help to release any trapped fluids that have built up and, in turn, could improve digestion.

4. Relax the nervous system

Two people discovering benefits of elevating your legs

Adopting this position can also help you to improve your breathing. While in this position, you retain more air. Little by little, your body tends to take on a slower and more measured rhythm of in-breaths and out-breaths.

This can have a positive impact on your nervous system, helping to relieve muscle tension, strain, and stress tension that often builds up around the stomach, neck and temples.

5. Achieve calmness

This exercise only takes 20 minutes, and can provide both physical relief, and help relax the mind after a stressful day.

It is also thought to improve brain and nervous system health.

This exercise encourages you to meditate. Our brains start to relax, and we begin to feel more present. Greater awareness of our bodies helps to envelop us in a sense of stillness, calm and perfect harmony.

As you continue to practice this simple exercise, you’ll notice more and more benefits of elevating your legs.

So, what are you waiting for?

Eberhardt, R. T., & Raffetto, J. D. (2005). Chronic venous insufficiency. Circulation. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.0000164199.72440.08

National Clinical Guideline Centre. (2012). Varicose veins in the legs. National Guideline. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

Trayes, K. P., Studdiford, J. S., Pickle, S., & Tully, A. S. (2013). Edema: Diagnosis and management. American Family Physician.