3 strategies to prevent getting cramps
Cramps have the capability of making it temporarily impossible of using the effected muscle. They can either be light contractions, like a sting or light spasm, or more painful episodes that can leave you with tenderness in the muscle for several days.
There are different points of view when it comes to the causes of cramps. Some claim that it depends on dehydration, others say that it depends on the unbalance of electrolytes or the low amount of potassium. Others on the other hand say that it’s a sign of muscle fatigue or on how the muscle has been used during training.
In this article we’ll try to give you 3 tips on how to prevent the development of these annoying and painful muscular contractions.
1. Planning your workout.
You usually get a cramp during intense workout sessions or during longer training exercises. This means that planning your workout in an appropriate way, making sure that your muscles have time to recuperate and regenerate, is fundamental. Another risk factor which seems to increase the possibility of getting cramps is the heat. So, choose the cooler times of the day to do your more intense workouts.
2. By constantly drinking fluids and electrolytes you reduce the probability of getting cramps.
We don’t want to go into detail on the science behind why one gets cramps, but preventing dehydration is fundamental when trying to avoid them. As a matter of fact, when reducing the amount of liquids in our body by 2-3% one increases the chance to get a cramp. The easiest solution to keep the right balance of liquids in the body is by making sure you drink before, during and after a workout.
3. Add salt.
Drinking plain water might not be enough in preventig getting cramps. It’s fundamental to also consume electrolytes, which are fundamental in controlling the fluids in- and out- of the cells. The most common electrolyte in our body is sodium. During physical exercise, water and sodium is dispersed through sweat. If the amount of sodium in your blood decreases a lot, there’s a risk that you’ll get cramps. A great way to avoid it is by drinking isotonic sports drinks or eating a salt stick while exercising.
To sum up, to prevent getting cramps, you can:
- Train in the right way and in with the correct intensity;
- Avoid training in the warmest part of the day;
- Make sure you are getting an adequate liquid intake both before, during and after a workout;
- Rehydrate yourself in order to make up for the sodium lost while sweating.