No one is immune to muscle cramps. Your calf muscles, hamstrings, quads, arms, and abs are most likely to be affected. There are plenty of possible culprits too, including being dehydrated, having poor blood circulation, not stretching enough, or just fatiguing your muscles.
Muscle cramps are involuntary, intensely painful muscle contractions that nearly every athlete has experienced at some point. Some people experience them often and simply seem to be prone to muscle cramps.
Though they’re more frequent at night, muscle cramps can also occur suddenly as we walk, exercise or go about doing our daily activities.
Sometimes the cramps are only a sharp pain that lasts for 15 seconds, while at other times, they linger for minutes on end and we can’t do anything to soothe the muscle stiffness.
Muscle cramps facts:
-A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not relax.
-Muscle cramps can often be prevented by measures such as adequate nutrition and hydration, attention to safety when exercising, and attention to ergonomic factors.
-Muscle cramps can occur in any muscle; cramps of the leg muscles and feet are particularly common.
-There are a variety of types and causes of muscle cramps.
-Muscle cramps may occur during exercise, at rest, or at night, depending upon the exact cause.
-Almost everyone experiences a muscle cramp at some time in their life.
-Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps.
-Numerous medicines can cause muscle cramps.
-Most muscle cramps can be stopped if the muscle can be stretched.
There are many reasons why our muscles, like our leg muscles (which is the most common) can cramp up. Among them are the following:
- Dehydration or low potassium and sodium levels
- Excessive muscle use for exercising
- Sedentary lifestyle and being overweight
- Kidney failure
- Drinks lots of water. Many experts suggest dehydration is a leading cause of muscle spasms.
- Try a vitamin. Studies suggest magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B, D, and E can limit the likelihood of getting a muscle cramp (or at least ease the pain).
- Jump around. When small nerves in our muscles get fatigued, cramping can occur. Luckily, jumping drills (a.k.a. plyometrics) keep these nerves from tiring. Do them a few times a week after working out to help prevent spasms.
- Warm up and cool down. A proper warm-up and cool-down, including plenty of stretching, can keep cramps at bay. So make sure to carve out time to get your body moving before working out and relax your muscles once you’re done.
- Fill up on electrolytes. Low levels of sodium and potassium could be the reason for that side stitch. So down some Gatorade or better yet, grab a banana.
Massage for soothing muscle cramps
The first thing we do when we experience a cramp is to massage the area with our fingers. However, there’s another technique we can use.
Sit so that the cramped leg is resting on top of your other thigh.
Massage the entire muscle using circular movements to get rid of all tension.
You can adjust the pressure as you need it.