Whatever you like to call it – a charley horse, a muscle spasm or an all-encompassing, painful-like-no-other kind of cramp—calf cramps hurt, and it’s no laughing matter. Whether you’re dealt with them for years (you’re a marathon runner and that just comes with the territory) or you’re pregnant, and getting them for the first time in your life (a common pregnancy symptom), we’ve got three tips from the pros that will prevent calf cramps from showing up at all.
Load Up on Essential Minerals
There are multiple reasons you may be getting painful leg cramps (which typically occur in your calves) at night. It could be that you’re dehydrated, you’re overdoing it during a workout, or the result of your being pregnant or perhaps, just not getting enough nutrients is causing you to have insufficient levels of magnesium and calcium. Your muscle contracts, and from a few seconds to a minute or more, you’ve got pain to deal with! However, when you add a few new supplements to your diet (calcium, magnesium and potassium), you may be able to prevent irritating Charlie horses from showing up, altogether!
Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of a leg cramp—so it pays to make sure that you’re not just drinking your fluids in the morning when you wake up and right before you go to bed, but all through your live long day! Every day you’re losing fluids that you’ve taken in, through exercise, each time you go to the restroom, and even through the basic breath! Diversify how you take in your liquids by replacing some glasses of tap water with flavored water (you can make your own with sliced cucumbers, watermelon or strawberries).
Replace a cup of coffee with a cup of green tea (which offers so many health benefits, such as being a great weight loss aid) and get in the habit of drinking a hydrating beverage before and after each meal. This will help you stay on top of your hydration, without it feeling like such a chore.
Get Your Steps In
If you have a job where you’re sitting between 6-8 hours a day (or gasp…even more than that) the culprit may lie in your sedentary work environment. In order to prevent (or at the very least, minimize) your risk for calf cramps, stand up once an hour, stretch your legs and walk a few laps around your office. Get outside on your lunch break and take a walk to the nearby park. Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. What you may find is a cardio workout at work that really pays off! Isn’t a peaceful, cramp-free night’s sleep worth it?