Almost everyone experiences the sudden, sharp pain of leg cramps once in awhile.
They generally fall into three categories — those due to exercising, those that stem from getting your leg in an awkward position, and those that arise out of nowhere. The most dreaded out-of-nowhere variety is cramps that strike while you’re asleep. The pain jolts you out of bed, and the sleep interruption makes it hard for you to do anything productive the next day.
There are things you can do to lower your chance of getting exercise-related cramps, both before and after your training. Stretching before you do either cardio or weightlifting limbers up tight muscles, reducing your chance of cramping. So do warm-ups — light activity designed to get your muscles relaxed before you move on to more strenuous tasks. The same is true of warm-downs — lighter exercises designed to cool your muscles gradually so you can avoid cramps once the heavier training is over. Post-exercise massages and trips to spas or saunas can also reduce the chance you’ll get cramps the next time you work out.
Exercise-related cramps are generally a one-of-a-kind predicament that you needn’t worry about. The same is true of cramps that come from getting your leg in an awkward position. An example is sitting on a sofa with one leg tucked under you. We usually don’t think about that position until it’s too late — but it is just asking for a cramp.
You need to be concerned about cramps that occur more than just occasionally, when you’re just sleeping or sitting. They may indicate an underlying health problem such as lack of calcium or potassium, or a muscle injury that you thought was no biggie but that is not healing as it should. At this point, you need to see a doctor.
Regardless of the cause, if you experience leg cramping, the best way to get rid of it is to walk it out. Yes, it’s painful, but staying in one place prolongs the pain, and no one wants that.
Another lower-extremity problem that can cause discomfort is leg heaviness — a feeling that your legs are thick, bloated or are difficult to move. Here, too, you’ll want to see a doctor if the condition lingers.
A diet supplement, taken regularly, can help people with cramping or leg heaviness that is occurring more often than it should, particularly nighttime cramping. Schaeffer Nutraceuticals developed viproactive® pinea for these problems. It includes an array of vitamins, minerals and plant extracts designed to keep muscles relaxed and flexible.