We’ve all been there. You’re finally getting that workout routine going, pushing yourself harder than ever before, and then your legs cramp up like a rusty old car engine. Despite nailing that muscle group with the perfect combination of well-timed sets and exercise techniques to increase strength, endurance and flexibility, suddenly you feel like someone has pulled the plug on your victory lap.
What are these pesky cramps? How do they happen in our bodies anyway? Did we not get enough electrolytes or something? Is it our hamstrings protesting at being overworked again or maybe just some ghostly bad luck following us around everywhere we go?
Fear no more for I have expertly delved into this topic to provide you with all the answers you need about those excruciating leg cramps once and for all.
Anatomy of a Charley Horse
Before we find out why it keeps happening, let’s first take a closer look at what exactly is happening when it does happen.
Also known as ‘Charley Horses’, which makes some sense if you think about it because nobody wants one of their beefier muscles turning into shoe leather from too much hardcore activity… anyway where were we?
Right! The term “charley horse” dates back to 1886 used by baseball player New York Herald Tuck Turner referring to such an affliction as though he had actually BEEN kicked by a horse named Charley.
The body is an incredibly complicated thing made up of different bones connected together with muscular tissue fibers which can contract – allowing movement – but sometimes these contractions become involuntary (e.g., during sleep) or simply pull too hard so instead cause pain: imagine flexing your biceps so hard that it feels like they will burst open any second; now replace “bicep” with “calf muscle” or “quadriceps” or “hamstring” and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what a cramp feels like.
Why, why, why?
It’s natural to ask ourselves why we are subjecting our bodies to this unpleasant experience. After all, the human body is pretty amazing – so why can’t it avoid such misery at times? Well, there are actually several reasons that could be causing your legs to suddenly tie themselves into knots:
Our bodies need sufficient amounts of fluids (H2O) or essential minerals in order to function correctly. When these levels drop too low for any reason (including sweating from exercise), your muscles start struggling with electrolyte imbalances which can cause contractions in different areas throughout the muscle unit which leads us on…
For those who missed chemistry 101: The terms “electrolytes” refers to ions of minerals such as sodium and potassium which help keep electricity regulated within your body by transmitting electrical charges between cells; without them things stop working properly… not unlike trying to play ‘Pac Man’ on an Atari while half-blindfolded during an earthquake!
Physical Overexertion / Under-Utilization
There’s no doubt about it: working out regularly is key if you want those gorgeous toned leg muscles! However when active individuals push themselves too hard through excessive repetition or acute trauma like spraining one ankle… well our legs will let us know!: “Hey there.. just wanted to give ya a heads up – I’ll be shutting down . hope you don’t mind”.
Having excellent physical fitness doesn’t necessarily guarantee immunity against charley horses since nobody is invincible unless they bought Hiccup & Toothless from ‘How To Train Your Dragon’
As often said, prevention is better than cure right?! Here then are some steps you can take to try and avoid leg cramps from ruining your workout:
Consider stretching before AND after all that lifting, cycling or jogging. Dynamic stretches such as heel-toe raises and hamstring curls have been known to help promote flexibility of the muscle tissues increasing long-term benefits.
- Drink enough water throughout the day OR during workouts along with supplements for when it is necessary e.g., Coconut water additionally helps replenish electrolytes.
Eat Nutritional Rich Foods
The body needs essential minerals in order remain functional; make sure there’s sufficient potassium, sodium, magnesium etc – considering consuming foods which are rich sources of these lot.
So you’re already standing prone on one hand trying to stretch out the affected muscle group! Here are some suggestions that might help ease those calf pain – LEG CRAMPS sigh
- Massage: Gently manipulate sore areas between fingers (or a form roller) stimulate blood flow while easing spasms.
- Ice Technique: Applying ice may be very helpful for acute relief also helping reduce swelling therefore reducing tension on muscle tissue fibers.
- Taking Pain Killers : When none of the above methods work merely reach out for your medicine cabinet.
Alternatively…take up swimming? Or train like an Olympic athlete everyday if you seriously want bigger / toned legs ! In every light getting into habit good habits leads us further away from those nasty cramps!
So … why do our legs really “cramp up”?
The specific reasons behind leg cramps vary depending upon each person’s individual conditions!. Therefore, changing lifestyle choices can go quite furr in case they have caused over-exertion among many other reason.
Hey there, I’m Dane Raynor, and I’m all about sharing fascinating knowledge, news, and hot topics. I’m passionate about learning and have a knack for simplifying complex ideas. Let’s explore together!
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