When it comes to health and fitness, leg cramps are one of the many things that can interfere with your everyday life and activity goals. Annoying, debilitating and painful, leg cramps commonly occur in the calf muscles. While cramps sometimes seem to come out of nowhere, they can stem from dehydration, muscle strain, lack of key vitamins and nutrients and lack of stretching.
The good news is there are preventive and soothing remedies that can help those who suffer with muscle cramps. Stretching, taking a multivitamin and eating a well-rounded diet are just a few of the preventive actions you can take to mitigate or lessen the effect of cramps. These are good recommendations to keep in mind, but here are even more tips.
Studies have shown the brain and heart have a water composition of approximately 73 percent water. When your body is lacking water, your brain and heart can greatly suffer. If you’re feeling even slightly thirsty, you’re likely already dehydrated. It’s important to hydrate before, during and after any physical activity, especially if you’re exercising for more than an hour.
A common cause of leg cramps is a deficiency in electrolytic minerals, including potassium and magnesium. Regularly eating certain foods high in these nutrients can potentially help prevent or lessen the effects of cramping. If you’re struggling with cramps, reach for one of the foods listed below:
- Sweet potatoes
- Greek yogurt
Heat Can Help
Heat increases blood flow, which is not only great for circulation but can also help relax sore or tight muscles. Adding magnesium in the form of Epsom salts to your bath can help reduce inflammation in the joints and provide even more muscle-relaxing benefits. Using a heating pad is also a good option.
The Bottom Line
You can usually treat a leg cramp with self-care measures. The effects of a cramp will typically disappear in minutes, but if you have ongoing symptoms, speak with your health care provider.
Am I a Candidate?
Determine if you are at risk for developing or already have symptoms for venous disease.