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Don’t Let Leg Cramps Ruin Your Workout Program


Running…Some people love it, others fear the thought of having to put on a pair of running shoes. Whatever your attitude towards running is, however, you cannot deny that it is one of the best activities to take up no matter what your fitness goals are or workout program you are following. Running burns calories, tones leg muscles, builds stamina and cardiovascular endurance. Now despite all these wonderful benefits, there are many precautions you must take to avoid the “aches and pains” that can come with running-namely, the dreaded leg cramps. If you are a runner, then I am sure that you will know about calf cramps (also known as “charlie horses” to us ol’ fashion folk) and how they can ruin your workout program.

Imagine this scenario if you will. Let’s say that you are about 75% through your running goal for the day when the road starts to incline. Ever so slightly, but enough to put that extra strain on your legs as you try to push through. And the temperature? Well, it’s the morning, but it’s hot and liable to get hotter before the end. And to make matters worse you haven’t had a sip of water since you started. And did you use tight fitting calf length socks? I know they are all the rage, but why did you do it? So what do we have here?

a. Extra strain on muscles

b. Dehydration

c. Loss of essentials salts

d. Restriction of blood flow?

Guess what. The answer is “e. All of the above”. Yep-trick question. The combination of these things is one giant leg cramp waiting to happen. I am not sure that

By staying hydrated while running, you help lessen the chances of leg cramps ruining your workout program.

By staying hydrated while running, you help lessen the chances of leg cramps ruining your workout program.

anyone has the definitive answer to the cause of cramps, but there are certainly several steps that you can take which could help save you from disaster during competition, or causing a scene during your run at the local park:

1. A Proper Warm Up. I know, I know-so cliche- but did you do it? If not, then those cramps could be coming. Seriously, if you have been involved in any sport to any level, then you will be aware of the importance of a proper warm up. And I don’t just mean a brisk walk up the stairs to the changing room either! A proper warm up should include a routine that gently stretches your muscles to get them ready for the increased exertion, and gets your blood flowing around your body. Not only will a warm help prevent calf cramps, they will also help prevent some of the injuries that might occur when you put sudden strain on cold muscles. And while we are talking of warm ups, don’t forget warm downs as well. Warming down after exercise can also help prevent cramping and reduce the risk of injury.

2. Train Hard, Run Easy. ┬áHave you heard this before? No? Well you should give it some thought, because it’s true. When you train for a sport, not only do you practice the necessary skills required to execute which ever event you are competing in, but you are also training your body for the rigor of the event. To given an exaggerated example, if you train for a sprint, and then try and run a marathon, your body won’t be ready. If you try it, I think you could be in for some serious cramps. Remember, train hard, run easy.

3. Water is Sport’s Life Blood. Whenever you start to exercise, you start to sweat (or you should). Sweat is nature’s way of cooling you down when you get hot, so, it’s a good thing. And since your body is mainly made of water, then you should have plenty, shouldn’t you? Well, considering that you lose moisture from your body when you breathe, sweating does take a lot of fluid out of your system. And your body will demand that it be replaced!

If you start feeling dizzy, or experience a rapid heart beat, then these could be signs that you are starting to dehydrate. I will take it as read that if your mouth and lips feel dry, then you should be taking water on board. It is not always possible to take on fluid during sport, but always have some available as soon as you are able to drink.

4. Exercising a’int no catwalk, baby. Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. Exercising and sports are not a fashion parade. If you think so, then you are hanging out in the wrong place! There’s nothing wrong with looking cool while you sweat, but be practical. Don’t risk injury (or cramps) by wearing clothing that is too tight, and that restricts your body’s movement, either. Believe me, no one is going to think you look all too “cool” as you roll on the floor clutching your cramped up calf in agony

5. Eat Properly. When you are sweating and working hard, not only do you lose water, you also lose nutrients. There is speculation that that athletes who get calf cramps could suffer from low levels of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. I am not suggesting that you do low level analysis of your breakfast cereal, but the message is clear. Look after your body, and your body will look after you. Eat sensibly, and eat the right foods.

So, ready for that run now? Yea, those extra small, extra tight spandex shorts don’t sound like such a great idea anymore, huh? Go for the medium sized shorts and don’t forget to grab a bottle of water on your way out! Happy running!

Take Charge!

Fitness King

P.S. Want to: Learn the “Easy” way to get and stay in shape? Discover the secret to quick fat loss? How to exercise less and get better results? Discover the secret to ripped abs without doing endless crunches? Then be sure to get my “Amazing Fat Burning Formula” HERE.

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