The Best Ways to Get Rid of Leg Cramps

Have you ever been struck by a sudden, painful leg cramp? Most of us have at some point, and it’s not a pleasant experience. All we can think about is how to get leg cramp relief. Most of the time the leg cramp will disappear as fast as it came. But what about those leg cramps that won’t go away no matter what you do? There is relief. Check out the leg cramp remedies below to find out what people have found most helpful. These leg cramp treatments have been tried and tested by millions of people for hundreds of years.

• Stretching

One of the reasons people get leg cramps is that they are overusing a particular muscle. So, if you are working on a specific task, try changing your position or using other muscle groups. If you are stationary or lying down, try to get up and stretch periodically. The key is that you don’t want your leg muscle overworked. At the same time, you don’t want your leg muscles lying idle, such as when you are sitting in a chair all day either.

• Water

Most of the time leg cramps are caused by dehydration. This one is an easy fix, but it’s something that a lot of people neglect. Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you continue to have cramps. A lot of people don’t like drinking water, so grab a drink such as Gatorade if you don’t like the taste of water.

• Hot or Cold

For those leg cramps that don’t seem to go away, a hot or cold press is sometimes needed. Take a cold towel or an ice pack and apply it to the area of the cramp. Sometimes a heat pack will work better. You will have to experiment to see what works best for you. You can buy small heating packs or even a small heating pad at Amazon.com relatively inexpensively if you shop around. An ice pack is generally used by most people, but buying a small heating pad could be a worthwhile investment.

• Massage

Massaging the area is the most common technique that most people try. The great news is that it works! Just remember to take it slow, and don’t apply too much pressure. You want to slowly work the leg cramp out. Gently massage the area surrounding the cramp and work your way directly over where it hurts. Don’t try to rush it. Go slow until the muscle starts to relax and you feel relief.

• Vitamins

Your muscles need a lot of different vitamins. Lack of vitamins, such as B12, have been associated with nocturnal leg cramps. You can take a multivitamin to help give your muscles the vitamins and minerals your muscles need. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any medication. Allergies and other relevant information are important to let your doctor know.

• Keep Legs Warm During the Winter

Keeping your legs warm in the winter can also prevent leg cramps. No one is sure why the cold causes leg cramps, but many have speculated that the cold could cause the leg muscles to contract. Leg and foot warmers can be found at places such as Amazon or your local department store.

• Foot Bath/Soak before Sleep

If you decide to try a foot bath, make sure you use epsom salt. Epsom salt contains magnesium which will absorb into your skin to help with cramps. You can also try mixing in some apple cider vinegar which is high in potassium. These two minerals are electrolytes, which carry the electric signal to your brain for muscle contraction and relaxing.

• Moving

If leg cramps hit you at night, sometimes it’s good to get up and move around. A cramp is caused by a muscle not relaxing. So, by moving you can reset that process in your brain by causing the muscle to contract and then relax again.

• Calcium

A lack of calcium can cause leg cramps as well. Calcium is an electrolyte, which, when low, will not allow your leg muscles to relax. Eating foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, which are high in calcium, can help. If dairy products don’t work for you, eat things like broccoli, sardines, or kale, which are all high in calcium as well.

Most of the time leg cramps are caused by something that is preventing your muscle from relaxing, so you may need to experiment to see what works for you. Just remember to keep hydrated and try to stretch periodically throughout the day. If none of these methods work, then you may need to see a doctor. Sometimes a doctor can prescribe a vitamin that your body is lacking. So, follow up with your doctor if you feel that you may have a more serious problem.

Fitness Tip: How To Hydrate and Replace Electrolytes When Working Out

Water is essential to life. A few days without it could result in death – it’s that important. So considering a hydration strategy, especially when working out in the heat is essential to overall health. We lose water through respiration, sweating as well as urinary and fecal output. Exercise speeds up the rate of water loss making intense exercise, especially in the heat, a possibility of leading to cramping, dizziness and heat exhaustion or heat stroke if adequate fluid intake isn’t met. Correct fluid intake is an important priority for exercisers and non-exercisers in the heat. Water makes up 60% of our bodies. So it’s incredibly important to for many different roles in the body.

The Role of Hydration In The Body:
Water has many important jobs. From a solvent to a mineral source, water plays a part in in many different functions. Here are some of water’s important jobs:

– Water acts as a solvent or a liquid that can dissolve other solids, liquids and gases. It can carry and transport these things in a number of ways. Two of water’s most important roles are the fact that water transports nutrients to cells and carries waste products away from cells.

– In the presence of water, chemical reactions can proceed when they might be impossible otherwise. Because of this, water acts as a catalyst to speed up enzymatic interactions with other chemicals.

– Drink up because water acts as a lubricant! That means that water helps lubricate joints and acts as a shock absorber for the eyes and spinal cord.

– Body hydration and fluid exchange help regulate body temperature. Don’t be afraid to sweat! It helps regulate your body temperature. When we begin to sweat, we know that body temperature has increased. As sweat stays on the skin, it begins to evaporate which lowers the body temperature.

– Did you know that water contains minerals? Drinking water is important as a source of calcium and magnesium. When drinking water is processed, pollutants are removed and lime or limestone is used to re-mineralize the water adding the calcium and magnesium into the water. Because re-mineralization varies depending on the location of the quarry, the mineral content can also vary.

Which Factors Determine How Much Water We Need:
What factors affect how much water we need? All of the following help determine how much water we need to take in.

Climate – Warmer climates may increase water needs by an additional 500 mL (2 cups) of water per day.

Physical activity demands – More or more intense exercise will require more water – depending on how much exercise is performed, water needs could double.

How much we’ve sweated – The amount of sweating may increase water needs.

Body size – Larger people will likely require more water and smaller people will require less.

Thirst – Also an indicator of when we need water. Contrary to popular believe that when we are thirsty we need water, thirst isn’t usually perceived until 1-2% of bodyweight is lost. At that point, exercise performance decreases and mental focus and clarity may drop off.
We know why water is important but how do we go about hydrating properly? Fluid balance or proper hydration is similar to energy balance (food intake vs output). It is important to avoid fluid imbalance for health.

We get water not only through the beverages we consume but also through some of the food we eat. Fruits and vegetables in their raw form have the highest percentage of water. Cooked or “wet” carbohydrates like rice, lentils and legumes have a fair amount of water where fats like nuts, seeds and oils are very low in water content.

Fluid Needs By Bodyweight:
One of the easiest way to determine how much water you need is by body weight. This would be the basic amount you need daily without exercise. *Yes, you’ll need to find a metric converter like this one to do the math.

Water Needs: 30 – 40 mL of water per 1 kg of bodyweight

Example: if you weigh 50 kg (110 lb), you would need 1.5 L – 2 L of water per day.

Hydration Indicators:
You should be drinking water consistently (not all at one time) throughout the day. The body can only absorb a certain amount of water at a time. Any overzealous drinking could lead to health issues.

Thirst – As stated above, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

Urine – The color of your urine is also an indicator of your hydration level.

colorless to slightly yellowish – hydrated
soft yellow – hydrated
pale gold – hydrated
gold, dark gold or light brown – possible light to moderate dehydration
brown – dehydrated

Hydration + Electrolyte Strategy:
These easy steps will help you to hydrate daily plus before and after workouts.

1. Determine how much water you need to drink on a daily basis using the body weight formula above.

2. Pre-hydration – Drinking about 2 cups of water BEFORE intense exercise ensures adequate hydration to start.

3. During Exercise – 1 cup (8 ounces) of water mixed with electrolytes (about 3/4 water to 1/4 electrolyte) every 15 minutes approximately.

4. After Exercise – Fluid intake is required to assist in recovery. Recovering with a mix of water, protein and carbs is a great idea in addition to electrolytes if needed. Formula: Approximately 15g of protein, 30g of carbs, electrolytes and water.