Muscle cramps in the legs cause pain and headaches that can last all day long. To ensure that the legs are pain-free and even relaxed during the day try to include some of the following stretches in the daily routine. Taking the time to stretch after exercising is important as well, especially for the legs. To avoid tight muscles and minimize soreness, try doing some stretches before and after working out. Some areas to stretch on the thighs are the hamstrings, the inner thigh—or adductor muscles—and the outer thigh—or the abductor muscles.
A standing hamstring exercise requires a knee-level support for one leg. Start by standing with both legs straightened, one on the ground and the other resting on the knee-level support. Slightly bend the knee of the leg that’s on the ground, and then bend forward at the hips leaving the supported leg straight. This leg should begin to feel a stretch from the back of the knee to the glutes. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then lean a little further to deepen the stretch and hold. Release and switch legs. Repeat for both legs at least 3 times. A floor hamstring exercise involves lying flat on the back, with both legs flat on the ground. Then bend one knee in a 90 degree angle with the foot flat on the ground. Lift the other leg straight up in the air. Hold this raised leg with one hand on the back of the thigh, and the opposite hand supporting the back of the calf. Keeping the leg as straight as possible, use the hand on the back of the thigh to pull the leg closer to the body. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release and repeat with the other leg. Repeat the stretch 3 or more times for the best results.
A stretch that greatly benefits the adductor muscles is sometimes called the butterfly stretch. Sitting on the floor, with the back straight, bring the soles of the feet together with the knees pointing in opposite directions. Pull the feet close to the body and continue to sit up straight. Then use the elbows to gently push the knees towards the ground, also try leaning forward, towards the ground to deepen the stretch. Hold this stretch for between 10-20 counts and then release and repeat.
Finally, the abductor stretch is also done sitting, but with the legs extended away from the body. Bend one knee and place that foot on the outer side of the other leg. So it will look like crossing the legs while on the floor. The foot should lie flat on the ground next to the opposite knee. Bring the arm opposite the bent leg over this leg, outstretched towards the floor. Use that arm to gently push the bent knee towards the body, while keeping the back straight. Hold for between 10-20 counts, and then release and repeat with the other leg.