Leg cramps are a common condition where you experience a strong painful contraction or tightening in your leg muscles that comes on suddenly and lasts from a few seconds to several minutes.
Leg cramps, or any muscle cramp, are caused by spasmlike muscle contraction. You might also experience leg cramps after exercising if you are dehydrated. In both cases leg cramps can be caused by electrolyte or mineral imbalance in the body.
People who exercise regularly are prone to muscle cramps due to dehydration. However, this can be easily fixed by consuming some warm water. Medical experts recommend drinking warm water because its temperature is the same to that of the blood and its absorption into the dehydrated muscles is much quicker when compared to cold water.
People who frequently have muscle cramps are advised to take some extra electrolyte supplements. They can promote electrolyte balance, hydration and will stop cramping right away.
How to Prevent Leg Cramps
Magnesium is an important mineral for proper muscle function and for prevention from cramps. It is quickly metabolized and the recommended dose is about 250-300 milligrams per day. There are many natural sources of magnesium, including nuts, lentils, spinach, molasses, prepared potatoes, fish, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and quinoa.
Potassium is another mineral that prevent muscle cramps. Potassium in combination with sodium regulates the liquid balance in the body. Therefore, leg cramps that happen due to dehydration are usually caused by potassium deficiency or by high sodium levels.
In addition, potassium can also have cramp relieving effects.
As soon as it is absorbed in the digestive system, potassium directs the fluids to the affected area. Therefore, whenever you experience a leg cramp, immediately consume foods that are rich in potassium.