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Muscle Cramps Westside Athletic Club Home


A very common complaint among exercise enthusiasts is muscle cramping (sometimes called a "charley
horse"). Muscle cramps occur when the muscle suddenly and forcefully contracts. The most common
muscles to contract in this manner are the hamstring, quadriceps and calf muscles. Muscle cramps usually
last several minutes before the contraction subsides. In some people, the cramps occur primarily at night, and
can awaken them from sleep.
What can cause Muscle cramps?
Muscle fatigue
Heavy exercising
Electrolyte imbalances (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium)
Medications (statins, prednisone, others)
How can Muscle cramps be prevented?
Stay Hydrated
Drink at least three 8-ounce glasses of water each day including one before bedtime. Also drink plenty of
fluid before, during and after exercise. Remember, if you exercise at a high intensity for 60-90 minutes, it
may be necessary to replace losses of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes lost during exercise.
Electrolyte disturbance may cause cramping of muscles, particularly hypokalemia (low potassium) and
hypocalcemia (low level of calcium). This disturbance arises as the body loses large amounts of fluid
through sweat. (water and salt)
Stretch Regularly
Stretching can relax muscle fibers. When working out, a good post-work out stretching routine can help relax
muscles and prevent cramps. Make sure you cool down after exercising. Avoid exercising vigorously 2 to 3
hours before sleep.
Train Gradually
Gradually build up your exercise program. Sudden changes or increases in activities can cause leg cramps.
Intense exercise can cause inadequate oxygenation, excess lactic acid buildup and stress the muscles.
Decreasing intensity of exercise and deep breathing can improve oxygenation and lessen muscle cramping.
What is the best way to make a leg cramp go away?
Massage the cramped muscle.
Gently stretch the muscle. To help dissipate leg cramps, the quickest treatment involves bending over and
grabbing the end of the toes and fully straightening out the leg.
Take a hot shower or bath to warm and relax the muscle. Heat improves superficial blood circulation and
makes muscles more flexible.

If you are interested in developing an individualized workout routine focused on your specific fitness goals
and needs, please feel free to call or email me to schedule a personal training session. My flexible schedule
will allow me to work around your busy lifestyle!

Lori Valentine
ACE certified Personal Trainer

     1212 Black Lake Blvd. SW  Olympia, WA 98502  (360) 754-8686  Fax (360) 705-3946 

    1212 Black Lake Blvd. SW  Olympia, WA 98502  (360) 754-8686  Fax (360) 705-3946 

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