Cramps cause strong pain which is sometimes unbearable, it hurts, it slows us down and it hinders our progress. Usually, leg cramps occur suddenly, and people who are trying to get in shape know just how often this particular unpleasant pain can occur.
This article explains what causes leg cramps and how to avoid their occurrence.
Reasons For Leg Cramps
A leg cramp (or any cramp for that matter) can be caused by a variety of internal issues. They are not caused by an outside force, unlike cuts and bruises.
There are cases when leg cramps can only indicate that one needs more water or certain nutrients. However, there are situations when these indicate some more serious problems, like a kidney infection. What is important to consider is that although cramping happens to everyone, all of our bodies are different, so in case of frequent cramps, you should consult your doctor.
People engaged in moderate or intense activities for long periods of time are simply dehydrated, and can avoid cramps by simply drinking some warm water. Warm water is recommended because its temperature closely resembles the temperature of our blood, and can be absorbed into dehydrated muscles much quicker the cold water.
Moreover, if one experiences frequent leg cramps, the consumption of an increased amount of electrolytes is recommended. Electrolytes give almost immediate results. Namely, they are like mini masseuses in the body that work with warm water to loosen up tight muscles.
How to Prevent Leg Cramps
As we previously said, hydration can be a great start in cases of cramps, but sometimes our bodies need more than just water. The body requires specific nutrients and minerals that cannot be provided by water and electrolytes.
Leg cramps that are caused by dehydration are usually a result of low potassium or high sodium. Potassium is a mineral that is great for preventing cramps, for it interacts with sodium in the body to direct and control liquids. Apart from being able to protect you from cramps, potassium can also act as a cramp relieving agent.
The consumption of foods that are rich in potassium while your leg (or any part of your body) is cramping, can provide a quick relief. When potassium enters the digestive system it helps by directing the fluids to the affected area.
In addition, one of the best minerals for preventing leg cramps is magnesium. If electrolytes are the masseuse, then magnesium is the massage oil. One should consume about 250-300 milligrams of magnesium a day to avoid cramps, for the human body uses magnesium rapidly.
Fish, quinoa, dark chocolate, spinach, molasses, nuts, lentils, pumpkin seeds and prepared potatoes, are all foods high in magnesium.