If you are a sports person, then you may have experienced some excruciating pain when you calf muscle balled up into some hard knot. It may sometimes come about when your armstring spasms incessantly making you feel helpless. This can of pain can be paralyzing and unforgettable. If you are in a competition, you may end up performing poorly. However, there is good news; you can actually avoid muscle cramps altogether. Here some ten tips that will help you have a good time in the field free of muscle cramps.
1. Enough hydration
In most cases, muscle cramps would be caused by dehydration. It is therefore recommended that you ingest at least one liter of water just before the competition begins. This will ensure that a majority of the electrolytes, fluids and nutrients are absorbed to enable your body withstand the intense training that will follow.
2. Consume enough minerals
Muscle cramping often follows when calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are depleted. While most diets offer most of these nutrients, you may consider having additional amounts if you are prone to muscle cramping. You can do this by adding about 1.3 g in one liter of your pre workout drinks. Notably, most people do not consume foods that are essentially right to these types of nutrients. As such, it would be advisable to go for natural sources of the same. These may include sesames seeds, collard greens and yogurt for calcium, sweet potatoes, beet greens and lima seeds for potassium and finally spinach, pumpkin seeds and soy beans for magnesium.
3. Proper warm up
Before you get into action, it is always recommended that you do some stretching and warm up. This will help ease up your muscles and avoid the possibility of having to deal with cramps. Always ensure that you do some pre and post workout stretching. Notably, chronically tight and shortened muscles tend to be more prone to cases of cramping. By doing some easy warm up, you will be helping ensure better nerve coordination. This will keep them functioning normally while you keep on with your sport.
Massage is one of the most effective ways to avoid muscle cramps. Through a good massage, your muscles tend to relax more and this helps ease out the straight that usually occurs when you get active. A massage can be done before and after your workout. For this ensure that you get a professional who fully understands your sports and thus will focus on the right muscles for the massage.
5. Creatine Supplemation
Greatine is one of the most notable sources of energy for your muscles. This is especially so if you are involved in intense activity. It is therefore recommended that you take good amount of the same to help cushion your muscles against fatigue.
6. Proper training
In most cases, muscle cramping is caused by muscle fatigue. As such it is important that you take your muscles through proper training in both humid and hot conditions. This will ensure that they are well trained and acclimated to fatiguing situations. You may also consider getting endurance training as well as plyometrics. By doing endurance training, you will be training your muscles to become less fatigued by at the same time expanding the amount of fluid your body can hold.
7. Avoid alcohol
Among the many harmful effects of alcohol, a risk of muscle cramps is one of them. By drinking alcohol, you will be dehydrating your body thus running the risk of developing muscle cramps. If you have to take alcohol, do it in moderation and avoid taking them just before or after a training regime.
8. Observe your diet
As much as many would not associate muscle cramp with diet, it is indeed one of the factors that case the same. It is therefore recommended that you take plenty of potassium, calcium and magnesium. This can be found in various fruits and vegetables.
9. Check your medications
Notably, some medication come with muscle cramps are side effects. As much as you may not have the option to switch the medication, at least get to understand how best to deal with it be staying prepared. By understanding the effects of your medication, you will be better prepared to deal with the side effects that come with it.
10. Check on your footwear
As much as this may go unnoticed in some cases, the shoes you wear may be a cause of your frequent muscle cramps. Always ensure that you wear comfortable shoes that do not strain your muscles.
As much as some muscle cramps may be harmless and temporary, others may get serious and cause excruciating pain. As such, it is always important to take measures that will prevent such an occurrence. This will help keep you active all through your sports activity or otherwise.
Guest author: Dr. Lucas J. Bader MD, MBA
is a board certified Orthopaedic surgeonspecializing in the surgical and non surgical treatment of osteoarthritis. Forthe past 20 years, Dr. Bader have spent countless hours combing throughmassive amounts of information, studying under musculoskeletal masters,and exchanging ideas with other experts to bring you the best strategies tohelp you accelerate your recovery from injury, prevent chronic disease, andinvigorate your musculoskeletal health and fitness.