Help with Running Cramps

Running cramps, particularly running calf cramps, afflict everyone from the person going out for a morning jog, to elite athletes. And it's not just runners that get cramps they can be a factor in any sport - tennis, swimming, golf, cycling and triathlon. This site is dedicated to sharing ideas and information between sports people, athletes, health practitioners, anyone who enjoys training - for the best ways to prevent, avoid and treat muscle cramp.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Magnesium Running Cramps and Leg Cramps

If you're a regular sufferer of leg cramps, running calf cramps and night time leg cramps and have tried 'almost everything', then perhaps the 'lullaby' mineral, magnesium, may have some benefits for you.

Magnesium is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, mixed nuts and whole grains and you need at least 320 mg/day for women and 420 mg/day for men to get the RDA . . . more if you have an active life.

It has an active role in muscle contraction and relaxation and deficiencies of magnesium are associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, fatigue and pre-eclampsia - just to name a few.

To get enough magnesium to prevent leg cramps and running cramps (and to prevent cardiovascular disease) you would have to eat large quantities of magnesium rich foods . . . but for many - particularly those with poor nutrition and/or an active lifestyle this just isn't enough.

It is estimated that 90 per cent of Americans (and probably a similar percentage in other so called developed countries) are magnesium deficient . . . certainly about 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are magnesium deficient and people on magnesium supplements may be able to lower their cholesterol by as much as 20%.

So if you are suffering painful leg cramps, running cramps, calf cramps, or night time leg cramps you should take a look at supplementing with magnesium and also getting a check up with your local GP.

This way you can make sure there aren't some other diseases associated with nutritional deficiencies that are likely to do more than give you a muscle cramp.

The Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide has a number of treatment plans to help you get rid of those painful leg cramps - including a nutritional plan for magnesium and other major minerals involved in preventing and reversing leg cramps and maintaining optimal health.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Running Cramp Relief & Help with Foot Cramps

Leg cramps and running cramps usually involve the muscles of the calf and occasionally the hamstrings and quadriceps.

Usually these last 2 are fatigue or injury related and can be easily treated by:
* Prevention - avoiding over-exerting yourself
* Careful recovery from a previous injury
* Maintaining good hydration and mineral and sugar levels in the body and muscles
* A good stretch after the exercise will work wonders.

Running cramps, calf leg cramps and foot cramps may require a broader treatment and prevention plan because they are potentially caused by a wider range of things.

Here are just a few ways to help you with those painful leg cramps:
* Reduce you alcohol intake - before and after exercise. Alcohol can make you more dehydrated and acts to make those leg cramps more likely to occur.
* Nutrient deficiency can lead to abnormal muscle contraction and function and cause leg cramps, calf cramps and foot cramps.
* Tobacco can restrict the supply of blood through the large and small vessels and can cause a deficit of nutrients to the muscles.
* New and poor-fitting shoes can also restrict blood flow and lead to foot cramps.
* A good stretching and self-massage routine can work wonders.

If you do suffer from painful leg cramps, calf cramps, foot cramps and running calf cramps, try these suggestions and for more detail and much more help, try the Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Soap Between the Sheets for Leg Cramps & Running Cramps

I don't know about you, but I keep reading about people espousing the benefits of soap between the sheets as a cure for leg cramps and painful night cramps in the legs.

Another is placing camphor blocks between the sheets. Another is elevating heavy blankets by placing a pillow between the feet. Does the body absorb homeopathic (tiny) amounts of the product? Does blanket elevation allow normal circulation that is often reduced when lying down?

We may never find an answer to this, but if it works for you then keep doing it or give it a try . . . and let me know how you go :)

Breathing Properly Can Help Side Stitches and Running Cramp

Side stitches, also known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP) are a frequent problem for people engaging in high impact exercise activities, particularly running.

They are usually felt on the right side and most commonly affect you when you are breathing too shallow, although they are known to affect more experienced athletes.

In a study of 965 participants who engaged in regular sporting activities that included running, cycling, aerobics, horseback-riding, basketball and swimming, it was found that gender, BMI (body mass index) and training status had no bearing on the prevalence or the degree of pain of ETAP.

The study did show that those who exercised more frequently experienced ETAP less often, and that prevalence and severity of ETAP decreased with age.

Exercising in extremely cold temperatures, decreased blood flow, trapped air and/or gas below the diaphragm, eating a meal too soon before exercise, or exercising too vigorously may also cause the diaphragm to spasm or cramp, causing sharp pain under the rib cage. Dehydration can also contribute to muscle cramping and running cramps.

To avoid side stitches, you need to practice deep breathing exercises - learn how to take a full breath.

When most of us take a breath we generally fill the top and middle part of our lungs. a full breath involves also breathing into your abdomen and then filling the lungs.

To avoid leg cramps, running cramps and side stitches you will need a comprehensive program involving: stretching; better training techniques; breathing; a sound nutritional program; a hydration plan and a a stretching and massage routine you can do easily.

Low Carb Diet and Leg Cramps

Complications during a low carb diet

Low Carb Diets seem to be all the rage when it comes to weight loss, however there are nutritional consequences and these can either exacerbate a leg cramp condition or cause it to occur.

Leg cramps and running cramps have many causes, but one of the most common I have been able to find in my research is a nutritional deficiency.

That's why it is important to begin a supplement program if you're trying to lose weight through reducing your carbohydrate intake. Remember to make fresh food - particularly vegetables, grains, nuts and fruit - a much bigger part of your diet.

And if you are adding increased levels of exercise to your lifestyle in an effort to lose weight faster, this is also likely to increase the risk of day and night time leg cramps and running cramps because of the mineral loss through sweating and increased nutritional demands on the body.

The Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide has a range of suggestions to help you prevent leg cramps and running cramps, exercise, stay healthy and even treat those leg cramps if they have already started.

Four ways to prevent nighttime leg cramps - A Great Article from the Harvard Medical School

This article has been reprinted from a recently published article by Julie K Silver MD, Harvard Medical School.

Do your legs cramp at night? If so, you are not alone. I've had leg cramps, and they can hurt long after the cramp goes away. They can also ruin a good night's sleep. However, there are ways to prevent them.

While it lasts, the pain from a leg cramp can be excruciating. Usually it goes away within a few minutes, though bad ones can cause lingering soreness. Typically, leg cramps affect the muscles in the calf (the large one is called the gastrocnemius) or along the sole of the foot.
The best immediate response is gently stretching the taut muscles. With the calf muscles, you can do that by grasping your toes and then slowly pulling your foot toward you.

Leaning forward against a wall while keeping your heels on the ground does the same thing. Just standing up and putting weight on the affected leg may help, though you should be careful about falling: Get some help if someone is there to assist you. Heat (from a heating pad or warm - not hot - water) or massaging of the leg and foot can also help muscles relax, although it's best to try stretching first.

Prevention tips

Here are four suggestions for preventing leg cramps before they happen:

1. Wear good shoes. Flat feet and other structural problems make some people particularly susceptible to leg cramps. Proper footwear is one way to compensate.

2. Loosen up the covers. Many people like to sleep under snug covers. But, especially if you're lying on your back, the covers can press your feet down, a position that tightens up the calf and the muscles along the bottom of the foot. Tight muscles are vulnerable to cramping. Just loosening the covers can help (see illustration below).

Tight covers can tighten your calf and foot muscles.

Loosening the covers and sleeping on your stomach with your feet hanging over the bed can keep them relaxed.

3. Stretch. Stretching your calf and foot muscles before you go to bed canhelp prevent cramps in the first place. Use the same techniques that stretchthe calf and foot muscles during a leg cramp. You can also try placing thefront part of your feet on the bottom step of a stairway and slowly loweringyour heels so they're below the level of the step.

4. Drink plenty of water. If you're active (that includes walking,gardening, doing housework), you need fluids to avoid dehydration. But don'toverdo it. High amounts of fluids can dilute the concentration of sodium inyour blood. This causes a variety of problems, including muscle cramps. Howmuch you should drink depends on how active you are and the foods you eat. Aswe get older, we tend to forget to drink enough water because the thirstimpulse becomes weaker with age. Some people also worry about adding more tripsto the bathroom, especially at night.

JulieK. Silver, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department ofPhysical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard MedicalSchool. She is also theChief Editor of Books for Harvard Health Publications.

Night Time Leg Cramps Affect About 70 Per Cent of Older People

That's really an astonishing statistic . . . and a painful one, as anyone suffering night time leg cramps knows.

Night time leg cramps are related to running cramps you may get in the legs, particularly the calf, as the cause and treatment are the same.

Most medical practitioners will tell you that deficiency of certain minerals are just theories, however the theory and the treatment are easy to test . . . and it starts by changing your diet and making some better lifestyle choices.

These choices can include: starting an exercise and stretching program, eating more fresh food (particularly vegetables), drinking more water, taking some specifics supplements that will help with the cause of the leg cramps, beginning a stretching and massage program that you can do at home.

Leg cramps at night and painful running calf cramps don't have to 'run' your life - and these are just a few suggestions to help get you started.

For the full story, try reading The Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Can Mustard Help You With Your Leg Cramps?

It doesn't work for everyone, but one of my readers swears by the beneficial effects of mustard to relieve leg cramps in the middle of the night.

In fact, he thinks it is so effective, he keeps a small sachet of yellow mustard beside his bedside table so he can take it quickly in the middle of the night.

In fact we know of many people who use yellow mustard to relieve leg cramps. There's no science behind this to explain why, but if it works for you, does there have to be a reason?

If mustard doesn't work for you, then you might try The Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide
where we show you 11 different ways you can treat, prevent and eliminate your running calf cramps and leg cramps.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Medical News: Restless Legs Syndrome Linked to Cardiovascular Disease - in Neurology, General Neurology from MedPage Today

Medical News: Restless Legs Syndrome Linked to Cardiovascular Disease - in Neurology, General Neurology from MedPage Today

Just because the two health issues appear linked, doesn't mean that one causes the other.

Restless leg syndrome is most likely caused by a combination of poor diet and nutritional plan and inadequate exercise - the same risk factors for many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis etc.

The trick to preventing leg cramps, running calf cramps and perhaps many other unrelated diseases is to focus on healthy living - plenty of fresh food, daily low impact exercise, eliminate most of the 'bad things' (caffeine, alcohol, sugar to name a few).

Leg Cramps & Calf Cramps - Riding the Charley Horse

A thought provoking article on leg cramps at night

Sure there are many theories about why people get leg cramps, especially calf cramps, at night.

People most affected are seniors and people who have a heavy training schedule.

While there may be many causes for cramp, remember having serious calf cramps and leg cramps isn't all doom and gloom - because there are also many opportunities for cure :)

The trick is to 'stay healthy' . . . and just because you may be fit, doesn't mean you are in good health.

Healthy circulation, healthy muscle tone through low impact exercise, healthy nutritional plan through eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (and a supplement plan to top up those extra minerals lost through sweat / not absorbed as well as we get older) and a healthy treatment plan (including how to self massage) are all part of the cure for leg cramps and calf cramps at night.

Right workout, diet may help run an extra mile

Right workout, diet may help run an extra mile

When it comes to running cramps, this article is pretty sensible and has some great tips at the end:
* Make sure you get adequate rest the night before the race. Eat a dinner rich in carbohydrates as that is your main fuel for exercise. The only point I would add here is to be careful you get some complex carbohydrates (found in vegetables, grains, nuts etc) and also make sure you don't have too much carbohydrate at the expense of protein and fat - which have an important role to play in the energy cycle.
* Have a light breakfast before leaving home. Arrive at the start point at least an hour before the start time to avoid last minute anxiety and chaos. Remember not to burn up too much energy in pre-race activities and anxiety.
* During the race, run at your own pace. Avoid getting carried away by those around. To do this you must have a good training program specifically for the event - for example, it's no use training on a flat course if there are a lot of hills - this is inviting leg and calf cramp.
* Consume water or any other oral dehydration fluid supplied at each water station along the way. If you know your rate of fluid loss (we show you how to do this in the Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide), then you can plan your hydration strategy.
* If you experience any chest discomfort, unusual shortness of breath, nausea or giddiness during the race, stop and take rest for a few minutes. Seek medical help if the discomfort persists more than a few minutes. This may also be a good time to try some self massage of any leg cramps.
* Write down your emergency contact number at the back of your running bib
* Stuff in some apricots in pockets and eat them at halts. A great idea to prevent leg cramps and running calf cramps! I also recommend electrolyte sachets you can add to water.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Beware Advice that says Low potassium level causes leg cramps

Beware Advice that says Low potassium level causes leg cramps

As readers of the Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide already know, it's not low potassium that causes running cramps and leg cramps - there's at least 2 other minerals which are more important and a whole range of things you can do in terms of diet and nutrition that will most certainly help.

While in some cases low potassium could lead to cramping, it's not likely - especially when you consider that potassium is one of the most common mineral across all food groups.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Beware the Statin Drugs and Leg Cramps

If you take cholesterol-lowering medication and are suffering leg cramps, it's likely you're suffering a side-effect of the drug.

There are other options to these liver-damaging, nutrient-depriving drugs that won't damage your health.

Check with your doctor for alternatives.

Yoga, Pilates Help Prevent Running Cramps and Leg Cramps

Well, our secret is out - you can prevent running cramps and leg cramps by doing flexibility exercises such as yoga and pilates.

As the players and coach of the Rockford Soccer team testify, a regular program of yoga helps prevent muscle cramps - click here for the article.

Many sportspeople don't spend enough time doing stretches before and after a game and most do not include flexibility exercises such as yoga into the training routine.

Our experience is that yoga will help you prevent running cramps and leg cramps and should be part of your regular training program.

We have included a 5 minute flexibility program as well as a stretching routine in the Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide that we guarantee will work if you make it part of your regular routine.

6 Eating Rules to Prevent Running Cramps

If you suffer running cramps there may be a way you can literally eat your way to good health and avoid getting a leg cramp each time you exercise.

Here's some tips that may help:

  1. Eat enough and eat often - at least 5 meals per day - this includes between meal snacks. To do this properly you will need to plan ahead the night before - heres some ideas: prepare packs of nuts, bags of fruit, left overs from the evening meal, make a whey shake, make sandwiches, pack some vegetables and make salads, can of tuna or salmon can go a long way.
  2. Eat carbohydrates - you need carbohydrates for energy. Choose more complex carbohydrates (low GI) as opposed to refined carbohydrates (cakes, biscuits, muffins etc).
  3. Drink lots of water - hydration is one way you can prevent running cramps. Water is also needed for the release of energy from carbohydrates and helps keep the body and muscles cooler.
  4. Choose lean sources of protein - protein provides sustained energy and aids muscle repair and growth.
  5. Eat a balanced diet - a good guide to proportions is about 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 20% fat. Make sure you consume at least 5-7 servings per day of vegetables and 2-3 servings of fruit. If you train for more than 2 and a half hours each day you may need to increase this.
  6. Eat Healthy - always chhose natural and nutrient-rich foods over junk foods. Junk food is loaded with harmful free radicals, trans-fatty acids, preservatives, food chemicals and rancid fats - all of which slow, inhibit or even deprive the delivery of nutrients to the muscles.
  7. Supplements can help - if you exercise regularly and work regular hours, you may need to supplement your diet so you get adequate amounts of minerals (particularly the major minerals of Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, Copper etc), vitamins and essential fatty acids. If you think you exercise a lot and get everything you need from the food you eat, you are kidding yourself. Click here for more help with supplements.

The Ultimate Cramp Busting Guide has several chapters devoted to nutrition, eating plan and the role of nutrients in preventing running cramps, calf cramps, leg cramps - all types of cramps. we exaplain what minerals and vitamins you need, the role of minerals, vitamins and essential fats in preventing muscle cramps and eating plans that will ensure you are getting adequate amounts of these nutrients.