How To Prevent Leg Cramps From Cramping Your Style

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Nothing will cramp your style like, well, a leg cramp. This painful sensation can occur when one or a few muscles contract involuntarily. It can happen in any part of the body, but it’s often the ones in your legs (sometimes called Charley horses) that really bring you down. Don-A-Matrix, a personal trainer for celebrities such as the Kardashians, says he cramps up from time to time because of his intense athletic training. He describes cramps as feeling like someone with a good grip is “grabbing you and won’t let go.”
There are myriad ways to combat muscle cramps, and they can be broken down into two categories: Prevention and damage control. There are things you can do to head them off so you won’t have to deal with them at all, but there are also ways to make them go away fast if you’re in the middle of an intense one.
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Luckily, though, a garden variety cramp usually won’t last longer than 10 minutes— if they persist or are a constant issue in your life, you might want to see a doctor.
Prevention:
Get enough potassium.
Having enough potassium can help prevent cramping because of the role it plays in the nervous system to help regulate muscles and the way the contract. Dr. Gary Olson, DC, a chiropractor and certified personal trainer, recommends eating bananas, and other foods that contain potassium.
Don’t get dehydrated.
Cramps often occur when lactic acid builds up in the muscles, according to Harvard Health. Dehydration can make this problem worse. “When it comes to leg cramps, we know [one of] the most important things is hydration,” says Don-A-Matrix, who’s partnered with BodyArmor as a spokesman. “One thing I use for the leg cramp is BodyArmor Lyte. It’s hydrating and the [electrolyte] potassium in it really helps the leg cramps. If you can’t get bananas in the system, I just drink that for prevention.”
Other sports drinks can help with this problem too. And don’t forget about good, old fashioned water.
Stretch it out.
Use a foam roller and don’t forget to stretch before you exercise.
Treatment:
Take magnesium.
Olson recommends magnesium citrate for people who cramp up regularly. “Magnesium citrate is in a perfect ratio of Magnesium to sodium,” Olson says. “If you have a magnesium or sodium deficiency, [cramps] should go away pretty soon after taking the supplement."
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Massage.
Olson recommends a rubbing a tennis, lacrosse, or golf ball up and down the affected muscles to increase circulation. You can also use a IDSON muscle roller stick, which is made to aid recovery and provides relief in a similar way to the tennis balls.
Again, stretch it out.
Stretching isn’t just a prevention tactic, it can also help relieve the cramp. It’s going to hurt — but use mild stretching techniques such as pulling your toes toward you and standing up on you tip toes helps.
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