When you see people shaking their legs, it’s probably because they have an itch. This is a common action that humans do when there is something itching them. The sensation of the itch is caused by the release of histamine, one of the chemical messengers in our body. When we have an itch, it means that our body has detected something unwanted and histamine is released to trigger an immune response.
That said, some people shake their legs for other reasons as well. Often, it’s because they are feeling nervous and this is one way of releasing pent-up energy or stress. It may also be a sign of another medical condition such as restless leg syndrome. However, in most cases, you can safely assume that someone has an itch when they start to shake their legs so let’s take a look at why that happens:
Why Do People Shake Their Legs?
When we have an itch, the sensation is caused by the release of histamine. Histamine is a chemical that is made in the body and released when there is an unwanted stimulus. It’s one of a group of chemicals called inflammatory factors that are involved in the immune response.
For example, if you have an allergy to something, your body will release histamine when you come into contact with it and this will cause itching and other symptoms. When you get a mosquito bite, your body releases histamine and this can cause itching because your skin has been damaged by the mosquito. Your body also releases histamine when there is an infection present such as bacterial or viral infection or inflammation (e.g., swelling). If you scratch your skin after getting an itch, it’s likely to make it worse because more histamine is released.
The Effects of Histamine
Histamine has many effects on our body including increased blood pressure; increased blood flow; dilated pupils; reduced blood flow to the brain; reduced stomach acid secretion; and dilation of blood vessels in the skin causing redness, pain, discomfort, and itching.
The Effects of Exercise
Exercise has a similar effect as histamine on our body. When we exercise, there is increased muscle activity, which causes the release of histamine. This can also cause increased heart rate and breathing. These factors can increase your blood pressure and cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
The Effects of Stress
Exercise releases stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline that can raise your blood pressure and heart rate. This increases the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers more stress hormones to be released further increasing the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers more stress hormones to be released further increasing the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers… you get the point!
Other Medical Conditions
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which you have an uncomfortable sensation in your legs when you are lying down or sitting still for long periods of time (usually at night). It’s caused by a nerve that carries signals from your brain to the muscles in your legs called the proprioceptive system. When this nerve is stimulated, it causes an itch in some people because it’s not getting enough oxygenated blood flow from circulation so it makes sense that when we have RLS, our proprioceptive system is being stimulated so we start to itch but this doesn’t happen with everyone as some people don’t have RLS.
So, if you have RLS and you itch, it’s likely that histamine is released and increases the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers more stress hormones to be released further increasing the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers… you get the point!
How Leg Shaking Can Be Beneficial To Your Health
- It helps to break down fat and stimulates circulation;
- It reduces the amount of fat in your stomach and makes you feel full and satisfied;
- It reduces the amount of sugar in your bloodstream which can lead to diabetes;
- It improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, especially calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are needed for normal cell function;
- It increases the production of hormones that are crucial to your health such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphin, norepinephrine, and melatonin which can help relieve depression, improve concentration levels, and reduce anxiety symptoms;
- It increases the oxygen supply to the brain which is important for mental health;
- It helps prevent muscle cramps by increasing blood flow to muscles (this is known as vasodilation);
- Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system which helps fight off infection (this is known as lymphatic drainage);
- Exercise can be used as a natural remedy for asthma or allergies (this is called “asthma pumping” because it’s similar to how exercise pumps air into your lungs);
- Exercise can help prevent cancer by increasing levels of antioxidants in our body (this is called antioxidant boosting).
The Risks Associated With Leg Shaking
- Leg shaking can cause damage to the muscles in your upper body and lower body;
- Leg shaking can cause damage to your spinal cord;
- Leg shaking can cause damage to your blood vessels (which is called arteriosclerosis);
- Leg shaking can cause damage to your nerves and muscles;
- Leg shaking is a form of exercise that is not recommended for people with RLS because it increases the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers more stress hormones to be released which further increases the effects of histamine on your body causing more itching which triggers… you get the point!
If you see someone shaking their legs, there is a chance that they have an itch, but there could be other reasons for it as well. So, if you are curious about why someone is shaking their legs, the best thing to do is to ask them. If they are scratching their skin and have an itchy feeling, they should try to relieve the itch as it’s not good to keep scratching. People who have itching skin are often suffering from an immune system disorder, such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. If they have a leg condition, they should see a doctor because some leg conditions can be treated and cured. If they are suffering from an itch, they should try to get rid of it as soon as possible as itching can make a person very uncomfortable.
Q: Why do people shake their legs?
A: It is a natural response to itching.
Q: Why do people shake their legs when they are asleep?
A: An itch wakes them up from sleep causing them to shake their legs.
Q: Why do some people have a habit of shaking their legs?
A: Some people feel the need to shake their legs and arms out of habit.