Most people have gotten a cramp (most commonly referred to as a “Charly Horse”) like this before. I’ve gotten then a few times during pool workout in college, but they seem to strike more frequently at night. I’ll be sound asleep at 2 am and then suddenly jerked awake into a screaming fit as my leg tightens and my muscle bulges from the side. If you’ve experienced this before, then you know exactly how terrible a Charly Horse can be. And, if you have no idea what I’m talking about…then be very glad because it’s absolutely miserable.
My Charly Horse was so bad the other day that it literally caused my muscle to pull itself. I’m supposed to be in the middle of my most intense Ironman training (I’m less than 1.5 months away) and now I’m forced to ease off and struggle to quickly recover from an injury that was totally pointless and completely preventable. So, I figured I’d do you a favor and remind you of why a Charly Horse might happen and how it can be prevented. And maybe, you won't wind up in my terrible situation.
Most Common Factors that contribute to a Charly Horse Leg Cramp:
1) Muscle Fatigue (check for me)
2) Heavy Exercising (yup, I got that one too)
3) Dehydration (Maybe I should re-think my cup of afternoon coffee)
4) Electrolyte Imbalances (perhaps I need to up my sports drink intake…or perhaps I need to decrease it)
6) Sitting, Standing, or staying in the same position for long periods of time (I’m an attorney…sitting for long periods is unfortunately part of my job)
How Charlie Horse cramps can be prevented:
1) Hydration ( I DEFINITELY Need to up my water intake at work)
2) Regular Stretching (I frequently finish my morning runs and then have to immediately get ready for work forcing myself to skip stretching)
3) Gradual Training (um, only so much I can do here)
4) Getting up and moving around more frequently when sitting for extended periods
5) Eat Bananas and milk to overcome potassium imbalances (Just picked up a bushel of bananas for breakfast)