A leg cramp is a sudden, painful contraction of the muscle. This can be caused by certain minerals and deficiencies, dehydration, injuries and even the way you sleep. Anytime your body loses more fluid through sweat than you are ingesting, your muscles and nerves can’t function properly. When this happens, your body tries to compensate by contracting your muscles and causing a cramp. If you’re looking to stop and prevent leg cramps from ruining your day, there are effective ways to do it.
1. Stay Hydrated
The most effective way to stop and prevent leg cramps is to drink enough water. You should try to drink about two litres of water a day, and more if you are actively exercising. Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains will also help you stay hydrated.
2. Warm Up Before Activities
If you’re exercising or performing a physical task, make sure to warm up your muscles and get your oxygen flowing. This will help prevent a decrease in circulation, which can cause cramping. You can try jogging or doing dynamic stretches before engaging in any activity to make sure your muscles are flexible and limber enough to not cramp up.
3. Stretch Well After Activities
When you finish exercising, cooling down by stretching can be just as crucial for preventing cramps as warming up. After strenuous activity, your muscles will need some decompressing so your body can relax. Stretching different muscle groups will help your muscles loosen up and slowly return to their normal state.
4. Try Magnesium
There are some types of magnesium supplements that are easily absorbed in the body. It is also found in nuts and seeds, grains and green, leafy vegetables. These can help regulate your heartbeat and relax your muscles, which helps prevent cramps.
5. Avoid Caffeine
Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks to avoid leg cramps. Caffeine is found in many foods and beverages, and it causes you to lose the essential minerals, like calcium and magnesium, that can help relieve cramps. Consuming too much caffeine can also cause your muscles to tense up, which can lead to cramping.
6. Apply Heat
Applying heat can help relieve the tension in your muscles and prevent leg cramps. If you notice your muscles starting to cramp up, try running a hot shower, or soaking in a hot bath to get the heat flowing. This helps open your blood vessels and promotes better blood flow, allowing your muscles to relax and alleviating the soreness you might be experiencing.
7. Change Your Sleeping Position
If you suffer from frequent leg cramps at night, you should try changing your sleeping position. Try sleeping on your side or stomach to relieve some of the pressure your leg muscles are bearing. You can also do some stretches before you go to bed to prepare your muscles for long periods of not moving while you sleep.
Leg cramps can be uncomfortable and painful, but they are usually temporary. Follow these tips to help manage them or avoid them entirely. If you notice your leg cramps are not going away after a few days, contact your doctor to find out if they are a symptom of something more serious.
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