Night stalkers

zombie-photos-23Are you stalking around the house at night because your painful calves are so cramped?  Your legs may be cramping during the night for several reasons.  Here’s one you may not have thought about.  Calcium deficiency.  With all our muscle movement, while training, we can consume massive amounts of calcium.  A low blood calcium level, causes muscle irritability. With this condition, you may experience muscle cramps in your back and legs.

Heres why.  Muscle contraction begins with an excitation of muscle filaments, that flexion causes a flooding of the outside of the sarcoplast with calcium. The sudden increase in calcium concentration sets off an energy-consuming chain reaction that causes the myofilaments to change shape and shorten. The simultaneous shortening of thousands of myofilaments leads to muscle contraction.

Upon muscle extension calcium levels quickly return the mineral from the myofilaments to the interior of the muscle sarcoplast.  As the calcium concentration around the myofilaments falls, your muscle returns to a relaxed state.

Sans all the physio junk.  If you are training hard, are well hydrated, and are experiencing night leg cramps try a calcium citrate and magnesium supplement.  There is some truth to the old wives tale that a warm cup of milk before bed will help you relax and sleep better.  Dairy products do contain large amounts of calcium but they tend to be mal-absorbed and usually will not provide enough benefit to a struggling athlete with night cramps.