Useful Tips On How To Prevent Cramps And What To Do If They Occur
Cramps are really annoying and appear at the wrong time: the muscle stiffens and you feel a strong pain that forces you to stop training. The good news is that we can do something to prevent them from occurring, and in this article we explain how to prevent cramps by adopting some good habits.
How To Prevent Cramps: Eliminating The Causes
Who hasn’t had a cramp before? It is an involuntary and sudden contraction of the muscle, very strong. Before understanding how to prevent cramps, it is good to know what the causes may be, even if there is no single cause for this spasm. It is believed, however, that the onset is determined by a combination of factors including the practice of intense physical activity in a hot-humid environment. In such a condition, training causes an imbalance between the electrolyte concentration and the level of hydration. Poorly trained people and those who train for a long time in an environment whose climatic conditions are those described above are more prone to the appearance of cramps.
Other causes may be:
- a lack of mineral salts;
- a prolonged excessive physical effort over time;
- intensive training of the same muscles;
- not having carried out a warm-up phase before training;
- blood circulation problems.
Useful Advice On How To Prevent Cramping
This is how to prevent cramps by following small precautions.
- Fatigue is one of the main factors that determine the onset of cramps. When practicing sport it is therefore a good idea to proceed step by step, increasing the intensity of the exercise progressively, without overdoing it.
- Stretching both at the beginning and at the end of the workout helps to prevent the appearance of cramps, but you must be careful to involve all the muscles that will have to work. General warming up before starting out in sport is also very important.
- The athlete must follow a healthy and balanced diet that provides the body with all the nutrients it needs to tackle the training. It is better to favour foods rich in mineral salts such as magnesium and potassium, calcium, and B vitamins. Potassium, which is found mainly in bananas, can be taken in greater quantities by using specific supplements. Calcium is found in milk and its derivatives, magnesium is present in walnuts, almonds, apples, peaches, figs, fish and corn.
- Before training, do not take diuretics or alcohol that can promote dehydration and it is recommended to eat at least 2-3 hours before starting to play sports. During your training session, you should stop to drink from time to time to keep your body well hydrated.
- Clothing can also affect the appearance of cramps: it is better to prefer breathable cotton clothing and comfortable shoes, avoiding synthetic fabrics or too tight.
If all this is not enough, here is how to behave when cramps occur. Stretching is the best solution: it contrasts involuntary contraction and if the cramp is slight it passes within a few seconds. Massaging the part affected by the pain can also help, even better if you apply arnica cream on the part. In extreme cases, a hot wrap can also be used to relieve the pain and relax the muscle.