Friday, March 10, 2023

Muscle Cramps During Exercise - Causes And Solutions


It has happened to all of us.  In the middle of exercising, the muscles suddenly cramp and you have to stop and wait for the muscle to quit cramping.  It always happens at the wrong moment. My mother always handed me a banana to take care of the problem but it didn't always work.  In addition, things have changed so that isn't always the recommended method of treating exercise induced muscle cramps.

By definition, a muscle cramp is when contracts strongly without your control.  Although any muscle can spasm, the calf muscles, foot muscles, the quadriceps, and hamstrings are the ones most likely to act out during exercising.  According to research a person's chances of experiencing exercise induced muscle cramps increases with age and with increased body mass index or BMI.

Should muscle cramps occur while exercising, you should immediately stop exercising to slowly and gently stretch the muscles,  The stretching position should be held at least 30 seconds because you want the muscles to relax. Each stretching exercise may need done multiple times to relax the cramping muscle.  You might also need to gently rub the muscle or drink a hydrating liquid to provide electrolytes if you are dehydrated.

Suggest exercises for spasming calf muscles include standing in a lunge position with the affected leg stretched out behind you.  Push your heal towards the ground and hold for 30 seconds or pull the toes and foot upward towards the shin and hold for 30 seconds.  If the muscles in your feet cramp, grab the toes and pull upwards for 30 seconds.

Should the front of your thigh or quadriceps spasm, grab your toes or ankle and pull backwards towards the back of your thigh and hold for 30 seconds.  On the other hand, if your hamstrings spasm, sit on the ground, with both legs straight in front of you and reach down towards your toes.  Hold for 30 seconds.  You can repeat any of these exercises as necessary.

Unfortunately, no one knows what causes muscles to cramp during exercise but there are a few things you can do to cut down on the possibility of getting them. First and foremost, always do a proper warmup so your muscles are ready to go and don't forget to stretch the muscles regularly.  Next, make sure you have enough liquids so you do not become hydrated.  Keep an eye on your electrolytes because it is easy to sweat enough salt out of the body to cause cramps.  Finally, eat a healthy diet so you have enough carbohydrates as this helps cut down on muscle fatigue.

Although muscles cramps cannot be totally avoided, you can cut down on their happening by following the above guidelines.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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