Muscle cramps are the result of the muscle suddenly tightening, causing extreme pain in that muscle. There are ways to prevent them from occuring. The pain usually subsides after a couple of seconds to minutes.
I personally dealt with many while playing rugby, but still deal with sometimes when I go for a run or something or have an intense training session involving my legs. There are a couple of causes for muscle cramps, usually they aren’t that serious and aren’t underlying diseases or anything, but there are some potential threats to your health.
What Causes Muscles Cramps?
There are various causes for muscle cramps. When you’re having a cramp, the reason is usually not known. The possible causes are dependent on the individual and can be all the reasons:
- Overuse of a muscle: usually the case in high intensity activities.
- Dehydration: not having enough fluid(like water) in your body or having used more than you’ve taken in. This results in your body not being able to perform its normal functions.
- Holding a position where your muscle is in contraction for a long time can also cause a cramp.
How to Prevent Muscle Cramps
We sometimes can’t help overuse of a muscle or sweating a lot of our fluids out of our body. There are ways to reduce these muscle cramps from occuring though.
- Increasing the strength of the muscle or increasing your endurance to ensure that the muscle can be stronger under tension. This can be done through regular exercise. Exercising at least 15-30 minutes everyday can reap many benefits in the long-term, not only for your muscles but your health.
- Stretching is required to relieve your leg of the pain that occurs when a muscle cramps occur. If you stretch regularly, you can ensure that your muscle is more relaxed on a regular basis and can prevent a cramp from occurring. About 5-10 minutes of stretching daily can relieve your body of any underlying stiffness. Working a desk job, heavy lifting job or high intensity activity causes fatigue in the muscles.
- Drinking more water and electrolytes will ensure that you prevent dehydration. Try drinking at least 2 litres of water daily, especially when you’re planning to do high intensity training.
- Massages can help the muscles to relax just like stretching.
- Drinking less fluids that can cause dehydration, such as caffeine products or alcohol.
Muscle cramps happen all over the body. The most important thing to do to handle them is to relax because the muscle is already under a lot of tension. Therefore don’t put it under more by being reactive to the pain that it is causing.
Foods that Help with Muscle Cramps
Here’s a list of food that can help with solutions that were mentioned above. These foods contain electrolytes (keep you hydrated and with a fluid balance): sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium.
- Green Peas
I have listed food that I enjoy and eat, but there are many other foods that help with electrolytes and there are other electrolytes that your body produces naturally too.
Many people have gone through a stint of muscle cramps in their life, but if they’re regularly reoccurring, you should see a doctor for it. Ensure that there’s no underlying conditions. Otherwise, I hope that this was helpful and we go on with our lives with less muscle cramps and more fitness.