If you’re wondering about the importance on knowing the ways to prevent muscle cramps, try to remember the last time you were helplessly sprawled on the floor with a throbbing pain in your calf. Should that unpleasant experience be something you’d rather avoid in your the near future, then read on.
Don’t worry, the steps that you can take to prevent yourself from a painful cramp are easy enough to implement in your busy schedule. You won’t need to completely overhaul your personal life just to ensure an uninterrupted workout session. Here are just some of the simpler ways you can pick up right now:
1. Conquer Hills Before Mountains
While it may be enticing to show off your strength by suddenly bench pressing twice your weight, the idea of your cramps setting in a few hours later may not just be as pleasing. It’s simply due to the fact that your muscles need to be properly conditioned before you take on physical exertions way above your capabilities.
Hence, to avoid spending the next few days sorely regretting your moment of bravado, take it easy on the workouts and start off slow to avoid muscle fatigue. Once you’ve gotten into a comfortable rhythm with your sets, increase the tempo and make progress to your desired goals. Now you’ll be able to pump a ton of iron for your onlookers without consequences.
2. Fill Up That Water Bottle
As our bodies are made up with almost 70% water, it’s essential to stay hydrated when you’re sweating it out during the exercise. Many crucial body processes rely on the presence of body fluids to function properly. A lack of hydration can cause many complications in the body, such as your nerve endings being entangled and thus causing muscles cramps.
To those worried that drinking water in the midst of a workout can lead to the cramps itself, that’s not exactly true. While you may get a stomach cramp from drinking too fast while exercising, it’s fine to take a few sips at times to keep your body properly hydrated throughout the session.
3. Have You Eaten?
It may be tempting to skip lunch and head straight to the gym to beat the crowd. However, without the intake of carbohydrates, your body won’t be able to convert enough glycogen (which is essentially energy for your muscles) to work out. You’ll even begin to feel faint and sweaty eventually as your blood pressure drops due to the lack of sugar in your body.
What’s worse is that your muscles need glycogen to both contract and relax. When your body runs out of energy in the midst of an exercise, this will cause painful cramps as your contracted muscles are unable to relax. Chow on at least a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as an energy bar, before the workout to avoid these moments of agony.
4. Warm Up And Cool Down
Like starting a car, your body needs time to warm up for a long workout. Studies have shown that by stretching your muscles before exercising, it loosens up your joints, increases the blood flow to your muscles and ultimately reduces the chance of nasty injuries. Also, if you’re feeling a tad confident after warming up, that’s the surprising mental boost you’ll reap from early preparation too.
Similarly, after a long workout, your body needs time to cool down as well. The same studies have also advised people to adopt gentle cardio exercises at the end of the exercise. By slowly cooling down, you’ll gradually reduce your heart and blood pressure rates, as well as break down excess lactic acid in the body before they build up into nasty muscle cramps.
5. Bulk Up In Your Minerals
Do you frequently suffer from muscle cramps despite your best preventative efforts? Well, to improve your muscular functions, perhaps it’s time to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals. Did you know that vitamin B, found in dairy products, eggs, fish or poultry, can prevent your chances of a muscle cramp by enhancing both cellular and nerve functions in your body?
Many muscle cramps often come from a lack of potassium or calcium, which can be easily avoided by either eating a healthy balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and meat, as well as adding supplements to your diet. The daily recommended dose of 750mg of magnesium and 1,500mg of calcium is more than enough to put your muscle cramps at ease.
With these tips on hand, rest assured that the chances of triggering a cramp while you’re pumping iron are slim to none. Now you’ll be able to get back to shape with a peace of mind and not worry about losing precious fitness time from your busy schedule.
And should you seem to have a persistent cramp that doesn’t seem to go away despite your best efforts, a physiotherapist may be someone that would be able to resolve that nagging problem. Fortunately, we at CaregiverAsia have just the people you’re looking for on our online platform.
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