Leg Muscle Cramps

Written by Jenni Wiltz
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Leg muscle cramps often happen during or immediately after routine exercise. When you get a cramp during or after exercise, stretching is the only immediate way to end the cramp. Stretching breaks the signal your muscle sends to your central nervous system, telling it to cramp.

Muscles are vulnerable to a repeated onset of cramping for hours after the initial cramp has subsided. Just because you get the cramp to stop does not mean you will be fine afterward. The only solution is to rest your muscle for anywhere from half an hour to an hour, depending on the severity of the cramp cycle.

Solutions for Leg Muscle Cramps

Doctors have long suspected that leg muscle cramps are caused in part by a person's electrolyte deficiency. Electrolytes are minerals that act as messengers, telling your muscle to stop cramping by bringing an electric signal from your nervous system. If you don't eat enough calcium-rich or potassium-rich foods, you run the risk of an electrolyte imbalance.

If adjusting your diet to include more foods such as beef, milk, dark leafy vegetables, and soybeans does not help alleviate your cramps, you might want to consider a calcium magnesium supplement or iron supplements. Look for a supplement that delivers these minerals in ionic form, allowing them to be fully processed by the body. If your supplements do not come in ionic form, your body will convert them, losing much of the nutritional value in the process.


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