Some of us experience painful leg cramps, also known as “Charley Horses” from time to time. While it is not known 100% what the cause of these muscle cramps or spasms is, there are some dietary/lifestyle changes and supplements you can incorporate into your day that can help prevent some of the typical causes.
It is incredibly important to be sure that you are drinking enough water during the day to stay properly hydrated. Dehydrated muscles are much more likely to cramp. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking 100 oz. of water a day. If you have a very intense workout with lots of sweating, be sure to replenish your electrolytes with coconut water or a natural electrolyte drink (I don’t like Gatorade because of all the sugar and artificial colors they add).
Properly stretch your calves, quadriceps and hamstrings daily to avoid muscles becoming overly tight. When your muscles are tight, they are much more likely to cramp. You can find some good stretches here: http://wp.me/p5qPKB-iX
Some believe that charley horses are the result of a deficiency in several important minerals, mainly potassium, magnesium and calcium. Taking a daily supplement with 500-700 mg of calcium and about 250-350 mg in magnesium will help provide your body with the proper balance it requires. For potassium, there are many great foods you can incorporate into your diet including broccoli, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, grapefruit and oranges.
Soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts is a great way to relax muscles and replenish magnesium. I find that soaking after a really intense workout helps prevent soreness in my muscles the next day.
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