It’s been said that leg cramps don’t discriminate—they can affect anyone at any time in the eye of the perfect physical storm. They can feel like everything from a small muscle twitch to full on body assault—shocking us into submission as they demand our complete and pain-filled attention. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are, time stands still and nothing else matters until that mad and pissed off leg cramp is extinguished. You’ve heard professional athletes such as LeBron James and Nate Robinson talk them. You’ve most definitely experienced them for yourself.
Before getting into the top tips on how to reduce leg cramps, let’s first understand them.
Most Common Types of Leg Cramps
While there are several types of leg cramps there are 3 very common types of leg cramps. Each has a different cause that is often misdiagnosed—and with a little understanding you have a better chance of deciding on the best way to get rid of those dreaded leg cramps.
- Activity Induced Leg Cramps
Whether you’re a gym rat, runner, or normally don’t participate in much activity at all leg cramps can come on from too much activity or even muscle fatigue. It could be that you have now taken your training to a new level to break a plateau, became a little too zealous on that first bike ride of the season or simply just walked a 5k with your team from work. These types of leg cramps are related to over exertion. Trying to remedy leg cramps during or after unaccustomed workouts may become part of your routine if your body isn’t used to that type of activity.
Top Tip: Treating these types of leg cramps with some good old fashioned muscle stretching exercises before you end your workout might do the trick. Or, you may be able to get rid of the leg cramps by taking a hot bath in Epsom salts while you massage them in the tub. The magnesium and sodium will be absorbed by your skin and the warm water and massage will help move the lactic acid through the muscle tissue that built up during your work out.
- Resting or Nighttime Leg Cramps
Ugh, these horrible leg cramps traditionally happen at night while we’re deep in a restful slumber. Turning over in bed, you stretch your foot forward pointing your toe…and BAM! You’ve unknowingly triggered a massive attack on your calf muscles because rather than stretching them—the responded to being shortened.
The causes for these nighttime leg cramps are unknown, but speculation points to doing a lot of activity or not doing enough activity during your regular day. Most people who live sedentary lifestyles or have desk jobs, tend to experience more of these at night as well as people who exercise more than normal or train extra hard.
With that said nighttime leg cramps seem to increase in the golden years. Being more common in people over 50, they can become a frustrating part of life as we age; 33% of seniors over age 60 experience nighttime leg cramps at least once a month. While nighttime leg cramps can affect your leg as a whole, the calf muscles are usually the area that contracts into cramping.
Some cramping episodes can last up to 20 minutes, which in the world of leg cramps feels like an eternity. You may feel an intense urge to massage the painful dreaded muscle or jump out of bed to stand on that leg to bring relief. Once you get to the other side, you’re exhausted and feel as if you’ve just ran the Boston Marathon. Getting back to a blissful sleep may be difficult. The one thing you can certainly look forward to is a painful and sore muscle from those dreaded leg cramps the next day.
Top Tip: How to prevent Rest Leg Cramps is determined by a Process of Elimination.
- Do you live a sedentary lifestyle or work at a desk?
The answer is simple—push yourself away from your desk and go for a walk or climb a set of stairs rather than take the elevator as every opportunity presents itself to do so. Change positions frequently. Another tip is to put your feet up on a footstool under your desk, this one has helped many people stop leg cramps. Lastly, Attempt to be up out of your chair for at least 10 minutes for every 2-3 hours you work.
- Are you doing too much of one activity such as standing on your feet all day?
Contractions can also stem from overstimulated nerve endings from being on your feet too long. The answer becomes stretching and strength training to help build up the muscle tissue to endure the activity that’s causing the issue in the first place.
- Leg Cramps Caused by Dehydration
These are often confused with the cause of resting leg cramps as most people go straight to dehydration for most leg cramp issues and overlook areas that are your true culprits. None-the-less, dehydration-induced leg cramps can even be considered worse as there’s a strong likelihood that in addition to not having enough fluids in your body, other things are taking place as a result.
Everything from a high rate of perspiration to catching a tummy bug, to prescribed medications to simply not drinking enough fluids during the course of the day, dehydration will cause everything from dry mouth, headache, lethargy, over-all fatigue, as well as peeled and cracking lips. Oh, and ….yes, leg cramps.
Our Recovery e21 R&D team has researched why the body needs electrolytes extensively as its part of our product development. Electrolyte depletion is a result of dehydration which affects the entire blood system as electrolytes are minerals that carry electric charge throughout your system. The class of electrolyte minerals is made up sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate, and hydrogen carbonate. Not having the right amount of magnesium for example might cause you to have headaches that you’ve not experienced before, however; is also extra hard on your heart and may even cause cardiac arrest.
Top Tip: The best way to get rid of leg these cramps are through hydration and replacing the depleted electrolytes. So next question is how much water should I drink every day? Mayo Clinic has written a very easy to understand article that explains that—click here to get the full pitcher on how much water you should drink.
With several options out there for electrolyte replacement, our favorite and most non-invasive way is replacing electrolytes nutritionally. For simple leg cramp cases (infrequent, random), this can be as easy as doing the following:
Skip the sugar laden Gatorade and opt for coconut water! Read why coconut water is a powerhouse of nutrition and learn its benefits. You’ll be sipping and icy glass of delicious coconut water soon!
Eat bananas to get up to 400mg of potassium in a single serving. Try a banana a day for a week—and see how you feel.
Feel free to salt your food! It’s okay to add a little extra—salt holds fluid and with adding a little extra salt, you’re rehydrating and also adding extra chloride too. Two birds with one stone! Yeah!
Up the Kale, Spinach and Broccoli
These delicious leafy green veges contain extra magnesium and are incredible for reducing free radicals in your blood stream. Are you also fatigued and tired? Count on these bright beauties to give you extra energy during your workout, too!
#1 Top Tip: Recovery e21!
Here’s a unique, healthy, preventative leg cramp solution. Just as every person is different, researching what is good for leg cramps can be frustrating at best and again, the treatments above are effective for those that have infrequent, random leg cramps.
If you’re suffering is more common, long-lasting or they occur on a regular basis, try Recovery e21. Our solution will not only bring you relief, it’ll help prevent them from happening in the first place.
First of all Recovery e21 is a natural, organic, full spectrum electrolyte replacement supplement. Second, it’s easy on your system because it’s non-synthetic and is completely bio-available as your body needs it.
What is bio-available? Compared to synthetic electrolyte replacements, they are difficult on your body and are processed as waste in the body when not used. Recovery e21 is naturally absorbed into your body on stand-by and available as needed.
Where does it come from? Rather than just replace a few of the needed mineral elements you may be missing causing your leg cramps, you are now able to benefit from a source found in the ocean. What can be more natural and organic than that?
Recovery e21 contains 114 elements that come from a natural, single cell marine algae found in the waters off the coast of Australia. It’s made perfectly balanced to provide the full range of electrolytes giving your body the opportunity to use every element for replacement putting you on the road to recovery and prevention.
Unfortunately, e21 is no longer available. You can find a choice of replacements HERE on Amazon.com