These perfect summer days are meant to be lived to the fullest. But have you ever experienced a sudden cramp or “charlie horse” while you are out enjoying your day? These spasms can range from mild to severe, and as a Fort Collins Sports Chiropractor I can teach you the things to do to help prevent these sometimes debilitating cramps.
Leg pain or cramps that occur with activity can be caused by several different reasons, with dehydration and electrolyte loss from sweat being a primary cause. When an athlete experiences leg cramps, it usually occurs during a long session.
These types of cramps can be prevented with regular hydration with electrolytes during long work outs. Electrolytes are an important component since they are used in muscle contraction and conducting nerve impulses.
If you drink eight, 8oz glasses of water a day and eat a well balanced diet you should be adequately prepared for regular exercise. A nutritionalist from urbannaturale.com suggests changing from using ionized salt to sea salt to get the per-requisite minerals can also help reduce muscle cramps and spasms.
What to do if you get a cramp
If you do end up getting a cramp, which is an unlikely event if you follow the recommendations above, you will need to stretch the muscle. This is one of the few times I recommend doing a static stretch for 30 seconds. After you get the cramp to subside, you need to replenish you electrolytes. An easy healthy way is to add a pinch of sea salt to a glass of water, or drink a sports drink. Not all sports drinks are created equally, and many are not much more than sugar water.
How Electrolytes Work and Dietary Sources
Electrolytes are merely minerals that are found in the body that serve very important functional rolls in your body. Calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium are the most well known.
Calcium as most people know are a component of bone, but what most people don’t realize is that it is involved in muscle contraction. If you don’t have enough dietary sources of calcium you body will steal it from your bones making them weaker. Some common sources of calcium are: alfalfa, almonds, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, figs, kale, kelp, paprika, parsley, salmon, seafood, and watercress.
Magnesium is important for muscle relaxation following the contraction and can help prevent muscle twitching. Some common sources of magnesium are: alfalfa, apples, avocados, bananas, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cantaloupe, cayenne, figs, fish, garlic, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, kelp, lemons, lima beans, nuts, paprika, parsley, peaches, salmon, seafood, watercress, wheat and whole grains.
Potassium is an important component for a healthy nervous system, muscle contractions and along with sodium helps control water balance in the body. Foods high in potassium include: avocados, bananas, brown rice, dates, figs, garlic, lima beans, nuts, potatoes, spinach, winter squash, and yams.
Sodium like I mentioned earlier helps with water balance in the body, pH of the blood, and is important in nerve and muscle function. Most foods contain too much sodium so it is rare to need to add this to your diet. If you need to add salt use sea salt.
Disclaimer this free advise is just that advice, and should not be used a supplement to seeking a professional advice for your health issues or concerns. An example pertanant to this article could be low back pain that may be a kidney problem caused by dehydration.
Dr. Mathew Ullom is a Fort Collins Sports Chiropractor with a thriving family practice conveniently located near the center of Fort Collins. To schedule a free consultation to see if chiropractic can help your aches, pains or ailments, Call 970-491-9191..