Friday, April 19, 2013

Twitchy Legs

I just started back up my habit of walking this week. I used to walk every day when I was in college. I'd walk 4 miles around campus and back to my apartment. Now, I've found 4 miles that I can walk where I live currently. So I've done that almost every day this week; I took one day off to go biking.

So, my walks have not been boring at all this week. I think I had one day that nothing happened. The second time that I went out for a walk this week I ended up coming back soaked to the bone. I misjudged the weather map and the storm that was supposed to come at 5 PM decided to come early. Whoops!

Today was interesting too. It was uncharacteristically hot. Like 30 degrees
The storm coming in behind me!
hotter than any day yet this year. I started out with a hoodie and was pretty warm, but ... again ... Mother Nature decided to stir things up and a storm front started moving in. I managed not to get wet this time, but had a pretty good show in the sky off in the distance! That's why I prefer walking outside to walking on the treadmill: something different to see every time!

And just in case you were wondering, I keep a little plastic baggy in my pocket in case it does start raining and I need to get my phone/headphones out of the weather. 

So now on to the twitchy legs. I got back from my 4 mile walk, which I happened to forget to warm up for. Whoops, again! I was sitting in my chair, checking on the stats from my walk and noticed these little twinges in my legs. All over. Like little tugs of the muscle. It didn't hurt, just kind of funny feeling. So, wondering what they were, I pulled up Google and decided to investigate.

It turns out that these little twitches are fairly normal and nothing very serious. Livestrong says: "Twitching occurs due to tiny involuntary muscle contractions in your leg muscles. The problem can also occur in a muscle served by a single nerve fiber. When twitching occurs, you may feel a slight pulling sensation in your leg and may see small, rapid movements in the affected muscle."

The website lists several possible causes for this behavior:
  • muscle fatigue
  • dehydration
  • not properly warming up the muscles before exercise
  • irritation in muscles after exercise
  • large amounts of caffeine
  • not eating a balanced diet
  • certain medications may cause twitches
  • reduced electrolyte levels 
    • you lose electrolytes when you sweat and may notice the twinges more often in hot/humid weather
  • Livestrong also says this twitching can be symptoms of certain diseases "including fibromyalgia; weak muscles; restless leg syndrome; nerve damage; muscle injury; muscular dystrophy; atrophy of the spinal muscles; or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease."
They recommend that if the twitching seems unusually severe or chronic, you notice weakness, loss of sensation or weakness in the muscle, to see your doctor. 

How do you prevent this twitching?

  • drink plenty of fluids to replace hydration lost in sweat
  • stretch properly before engaging in the physical activity
  • doctor prescribed anti-spasmodic medication
You can also massage twitching muscles to reduce involuntary contractions. 

To read the original article, click HERE.

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