Nighttime leg cramps

Growing up, my mother often complained about cramps in her legs at night. I remember hearing her saying, "Ow, ow, ow, ow!" in her bedroom. These charley horses were quite common in my mother's life and I never understood why. Until this morning…

About ten minutes before my alarm was to go off, I had the worst cramp in my right calf ever. I have never experienced such a cramp before. Technology is amazing because as soon as the pain subsides, I came straight to the internet to find out what causes leg cramps at night.

Did you know nighttime leg cramps are a pretty common thing? Many of us suffer from it, but we don't have to!! According to my brief research, nighttime leg cramps, or charley horses, are often caused by several reasons:

  • Dehydration
  • Over exercising or not stretching enough before and after as well as before bed
  • Lack of calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Now, drinking water has always been hard for me. I'm lucky if I drink two cups a day regularly. As I grow older I am working towards getting more water in my body before I shrivel up like a raisin! New goal: Drink 8 cups of water a day.

Exercising is something I try to do, but not strenuous. I ride a stationary bike at home so I am still present with my family, or at least close enough to know my son is not burning down the house. But the stretching is something I haven't been doing and this could be adding to my cramps. New goal: stretch before and after exercise as well as before and right after sleep.

Getting enough calcium, magnesium, and potassium may also be a concern for me. I have no idea which foods contain these nutrients! I Googled it! I found a great article on livestrong.com: http://www.livestrong.com/article/70088-list-foods-rich-magnesium-potassium/

New goal: Eat snacks throughout each day that contain nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

The ultimate result that I am looking for in all this is: No more nighttime leg cramps!! Today is a new day and I will stick to these goals for 7-days and evaluate my progress.

Be heart healthy on Workout Wednesday

Children love playing with their friends. They have more energy than many adults know what to do with! Heck, they run circles around me while I wish I had half their energy! Why is that?

Children are so resilient! They can be at soccer or football practice for an hour then want to keep running around afterward! Where does this energy come from?!

These kids are naturals at heart healthy activity. They find fun games to play that get their cardio in naturally. And on a side note, it teaches them socialization skills! Win-win! 

As adults, we find it so hard to squeeze in some exercise. It is recommended that adults get 20-30 minutes of cardio in 3-4 times a week. But where does that fit into your jam-packed schedule?!

Whether you’re in it to lose weight or to just remain heart-healthy, get that cardio in early. Cardio before breakfast forces your body to burn fat instead of the food you just ate. It’s a great way to lose weight! 

Can’t leave the house because you have small children who need supervision? Find a way to get cardio in while at home where you can keep an eye on those kids! Even if it’s a treadmill or stationary bike, raising that heart rate is very important for blood circulation! 

Did you know cardio also increases your metabolism? That was a buzz word once that everyone envied those with a high metabolism because they could eat whatever they wanted and never seem to gain a pound. Some of us have a natural high metabolism while the rest of us need to work to get it. 

Now, if cardio is so important and useful and it’s suggested we do it before breakfast, a great time is getting up before everyone else to squeeze it in! You will have more energy throughout the day and the morning shower will feel amazing! 

What kind of cardio do you get in regularly?