A muscle cramp occurs when a muscle involuntarily contracts and doesn't relax. This process can usually be prevented through adequate stretching, hydration and nutrition.
- It is very important to stretch before and after exercise, including an adequate warm up and cool down during your exercise routine.
- Focusing on stretching muscles like your calf, quad and hamstrings can decrease your risk of cramping up during a run.
- Making sure you drink enough after your workout is important, but ensuring you have adequate fluids prior to a workout is crucial in preventing dehydration and muscle cramping.
- Adequate electrolytes are a must, especially sodium and potassium.
- Magnesium - very important in easing aching muscles, especially if there is an underlying deficiency. Include foods like leafy greens, grains, molasses, cacao, lean meats, fish, bananas, apricots and edamame.
- Potassium - regulates water inside the cell and plays a role in muscle signals. Good sources of potassium include coconut water, swiss chard, apple cider vinegar, lima beans, yams, potatoes, edamame, spinach, papaya and lentils.
- Sodium - regulates water outside of the cells and signals to muscles.
Another important thing to consider are the clothing you wear. If anything is too tight, this may also cause cramping due to a decrease in circulation to certain areas of the body. For quick relief, begin to immediately stretch out the cramp. Icing can also help decrease the pain associated with the muscle cramp.
Try our Cramps Be Gone! Blast if you're looking to prevent painful cramps or dehydration while you're working out!