View Full Version : Leg cramps

05-31-2007, 12:45 PM
I've asked around and no one seems to know what might be going on.
I lost 20 pounds when I started commuting (no dieting, just biking), and had leg cramps at night, just like the ones I had when I was pregnant.

I gained a little of that back. Then I started commuting exclusively, using my bike for more errands including groceries, and going on more long rides. I decided to lose what I'd regained about the same time my biking increased, and sure enough I'm getting those leg cramps.

Before I started biking, I lost some weight (regained later) but didn't have those cramps. It is definitely associated with the combination of weight loss and biking.

If you haven't had pregnancy leg cramps, they are horrible sharp pains in your calves that wake you up out of a sound sleep, sometimes with an audible gasp or yelp. Mine only last a few seconds.

Because they are just like the pregnancy ones I thought more calcium? Someone suggested more potassium also. So I have calcium supplements (Tums) with my daily vitamin and I drink a glass of orange juice or V8 or have a banana, and I'm doing down-dog & other stretches to thoroughly stretch those calves before I fall asleep. I think that keeps it under control but I have to be careful NOT to stretch my legs as I wake up, or I'll get a cramp.

Any thoughts? I'm only a couple pounds away from my goal so *if* I manage not to regain this time, it won't be a problem again.

05-31-2007, 01:01 PM
I'm no expert, but you ought to be taking more calcium than Tums.

I know those cramps, I got them while I was pregnant too. Sounds like you are not getting enough ... something ... but some wiser folk will sound off here soon.

05-31-2007, 01:03 PM
Someone much wiser than I, put this link about cramping on this website and I thought it was such a good article that I put it on my favorites.

Go to http://ultracycling.com/training/cramping.html

It is a great article about cramping

05-31-2007, 01:03 PM
There are several things, including those you named. You could also be dehydrated. Most sports drink have some potassium. The Tums should cover the calcium. You may also need some magnesium with the calcium, helps the body use it. Lots of Calcium supplements come with mag. now.

06-01-2007, 06:22 PM
I get those cramps and usually wake up poor DH. The women in my family have poor circulation in their legs, have you ever had yours checked? I am keeping mine under control with a multi-vitamin (made sure it has calcium and potasium), lots of water and a banana for good measure.

06-06-2007, 06:56 AM
Go to http://ultracycling.com/training/cramping.html
That is a good site, and confirmed what I suspected, about electrolytes & stretching
Last night, I stayed up watching tv with my cousin who is passing through, so I didn't do my stretches. That is the last night I will fail to stretch! My gasps of pain woke up my husband at 5 a.m. and I could not straighten my leg. When I finally got up, I couldn't put my heel all the way to the ground, I walked around on tiptoe for a while. It's loosened up now.

I didn't feel too bad about waking him up. He woke me up at 4 a.m. when he got up to go the bathroom and stepped on his glasses, then turned on the light to look for the little bits.

09-10-2007, 02:15 PM
I have just come across your post about cramp - a bit late in the day but I have only just joined TE. :) I have had painful cramps almost all my life since a teenager and have had it in loads of different places - stomach, legs (all parts!) feet, hands, under the chin - and on a number of occasions have passed right out - indoors and out - and woken up feeling rather weak and a bit frightened. I haven't found a real cure though I do make sure I take salt to replace that sweated out. Sometimes I stretch out of one cramp only to be gripped by another - and then you really don't know what to do! Also winter, summer it is all one to a cramp sufferer. I most definitely do get cramp when cold and that can be very scarey because you may be in a situation where it is not possible to easily get warm again.

However, it's not all negative - it makes a lot of difference to have a warm shower on a day when you have done any kind of unaccustomed physical activity and, of course, if you have done some hard exercise. However tired you feel never fall asleep after hard exercise if you haven't had a shower or at the very least wiped yourself over with a damp flannel to get rid of salt on the skin. Make sure you are not cold in bed - but not too warm either! And doing yoga seems to help - I do some about 4 times a week and I feel sure the gentle stretching keeps me better toned and less susceptible . I get less attacks nowadays if I keep to the 'rules' above. Some people swear by bananas but I hate them! Hope this might be of some help.

09-10-2007, 04:56 PM
I found this article a bit easier read than the ultracycling one:


another thing I learned recently (Thanks, Wahine) is that potatoes are really high in potassium. Good with green beans too.

09-25-2007, 05:35 AM
This thread was started awhile back but I have to put in my 2 cents about using Tums/Rolaids as a calcium supplement...DON"T DO IT!!! I did this and then started getting rebound heartburn. It took over a week after quitting the Rolaids for my heartburn to go away. They should not advertise these as being a good way to supplement your calcium!