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Perceptions of exercise and restless legs syndrome: Results from a nationwide survey.

Authors
  • Cederberg, Katie L J1
  • Sikes, E Morghen2
  • Mignot, Emmanuel1
  • 1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, USA.
  • 2 Division of Occupational Therapy, Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Sleep Research
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
Volume
33
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/jsr.13980
PMID: 37353978
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Restless legs syndrome is a prevalent, sensorimotor sleep disorder temporarily relieved by movement, with evidence of symptomatic improvement with regular exercise. The present study describes perceptions of the effects of exercise on symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Participants (N = 528) completed a mixed-methods (i.e. numerical and narrative), nationwide survey including items assessing personal experiences with exercise and restless legs syndrome (both positive and negative), as well as restless legs syndrome diagnosis, restless legs syndrome severity, and demographic and clinical characteristics. Responses varied widely on specific experiences with exercise, but a higher percentage of participants indicated positive experiences with exercise than those who reported negative experiences (72%-40%, respectively) with exercise. Further, 54% of respondents reported that exercise only improves restless legs syndrome, while 24% reported exercise only worsens symptoms. Participants described that any abrupt change in exercise routine would almost always elicit restless legs syndrome symptoms (e.g. hiking for a long time, stopping an exercise routine), and that a consistent pattern of exercise improved restless legs syndrome symptoms with an overall beneficial effect on the frequency of symptomatic bouts. Participants further described time of day as impactful for their exercise experience, with > 50% indicating morning exercise improves symptoms and evening exercise worsens symptoms. Participants described several questions that they wanted answered regarding the evidence for exercise in restless legs syndrome and specific exercise prescription recommendations. The present study describes information crucial to the creation of stakeholder-informed health promotion programs for individuals with restless legs syndrome to optimize personalized treatment plans that could prevent and manage symptoms. © 2023 European Sleep Research Society.

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