There are many reasons for muscle cramps. A lot of people experience them because of a deficiency of certain key elements such as potassium and magnesium. Others, particularly those that live in warmer climates such as Arizona, experience cramps due to dehydration. A large number of patients I consult, flat out do not like drinking water. Our bodies need a certain amount of water to maintain a healthy balance, and in a warmer climate, even without a high level of activity, the amount of water needed on a daily basis increases. Without adequate hydration and proper intake of potassium and magnesium, our bodies suffer.
One way this manifests itself is with muscle cramps. A lot of times these cramps occur in the legs, calf muscles, or feet. When these cramps occur, they can be painful but are not in and of themselves harmful. What can be harmful is if you continue to ignore your bodies attempts to tell you what it needs. The best thing you can do is be mindful of what your body needs before it starts prompting you, in painful ways, to listen to it.
The recommended daily water intake is 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day or 64 ounces. This does not include additional hydration needs for strenuous activity or warmer climates. Appropriate sources of potassium and magnesium include: avocado, tomato, potato, and banana.
If you are hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet and still experience cramping, particularly at night, you may have a vascular problem. Chronic venous insufficiency is the cause of night cramps and restlessness in the lower extremities. If you are experiencing night cramps, consider consulting with our experienced vein specialist.