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Simple Solutions: How To Prevent And Get Rid Of Cramps

Simple Solutions: How To Prevent And Get Rid Of Cramps

Cramps can be experienced regularly or at a given time. When they come they can be fleeting but extremely painful. and if it comes on a daily or monthly basis, it can even lower a person’s well-being and quality of everyday life.

Night cramps can be particularly painful and can disrupt our sleeping patterns if experienced on a regular basis. And for many women, menstrual cramps can be a huge burden on a monthly basis.

If you want to get rid of cramps then find out what exactly causes cramps and how you can effectively relieve them and prevent them from occurring.

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What Are Cramps and What Causes Them?

Most commonly, cramps can be a result of electrolyte imbalance due to the lack of fluid in your system. They most commonly come about if you’ve overexerted your muscles or suffer from general dehydration. When dehydration occurs, the electrolytes suffer and the minerals that make up the electrolytes, sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium, diminish rapidly and an imbalance occurs. Since electrolytes are essential for healthy cell function, these also help with the optimum function of our muscles.

We can also get cramps from long periods of inactivity like sitting down without moving for a long time. Certain medications can make us prone to experiencing cramps so check with your doctor if you are on long-term medication and get cramps on a regular basis.

Cramps can potentially occur in every muscle in the body but they most commonly happen in the calves, feet and thighs.

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What Are The Different Types of Cramp?

  • True Cramps – these are the most common types of cramps which we have all probably suffered from one time or another. These usually involve part or all of a single muscle or a group of muscles that generally act together and are thought to be affected by the nerves that stimulate the muscles.
  • Dysmenorrhea  – these are also known as menstrual cramps. They are a result of the uterus (a muscle itself) contracting and if this happens too strongly the oxygen supply is cut off to the muscle tissue and pain ensues.
  • Injury Cramps – if the body has experienced an injury then the muscle tries to protect it by spasming in an attempt to stabilise the injured area.
  • Rest Cramps – these happen with a long period of inactivity and can sometimes happen at night known as night cramps.
  • Dystonic Cramps – these types of cramps occur when there is repetitive movement in one area such as in the hands when we write for too long.

How To Get Rid of Cramps

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    There are various ways you can help get rid of cramps. When experiencing a cramp it can be quite debilitating and you usually have to stop what you’re doing suddenly.

    Stretching is the number one way to help relieve the pain and longevity of a true cramp. This can simply involve walking around if it occurs in the leg or foot area. For calf cramps you can gently stretch the leg by facing a wall and hold both hands out bending the unaffected leg with the affected leg stretched out behind.

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    If you do regular exercise such as running, it’s a great practice to make sure you stretch out before and after to prevent cramps caused by the vigorous exercise.

    If you suffer from night cramps then doing evening stretches in your legs before going to bed will help prevent painful night cramps from occurring.

    Massaging is another great and effective way to relieve the symptoms of cramp. Relaxing the muscle through gentle massage will help the pain cease quite quickly.

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    Applying heat in the form of a heated pad or hot water bottle will further relax the muscle and calm down the spasming. This is particularly helpful in menstrual cramping. A hot shower will also be effective making sure the cramping area is focused on.

    How To Prevent Cramps

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      • Leg exercises can help when you find yourself sitting for long periods of time. Doing ankle flexes will allow the oxygen to flow up the legs and to the muscle tissues. If possible make sure you take breaks and walk around.
      • Hydration is really important if you suffer from cramps regularly. It could be a case of keeping yourself hydrated to keep the cramps away especially if you exercise. Some sports drinks contain added electrolytes that could help replenish the lost electrolytes through sweating.
      • Vitamin supplements may be beneficial if you suffer from cramps due to pregnancy. Adequate intakes of calcium and magnesium can help to relieve cramping when pregnant but make sure you consult your doctor before taking anything. Calcium and magnesium intake can also help with night cramps.
      • Footwear is another factor to think about if you suffer from cramps regularly. Make sure you wear comfortable cushioned shoes with a good arch support. This will help support the rest of the muscles in your leg and prevent injuries to the foot.
      • Pillows are great if you place them under your knees while in bed. This will help prevent night cramps by elevating the blood flow to the muscles.

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      Jenny Marchal

      A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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      Published on October 17, 2019

      How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

      How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

      Day to day we all suffer. Life is hard, have you ever got to work and just stopped right in front of the stairs and just absolutely dreaded the thought of having to go up to them? By the top, you’re out of breath, uncomfortable and sweating.

      So, how to build endurance fast and enhance stamina? We will look into the tips in this article.

      What Is the Best Exercise for Endurance?

      When faced with any exercise venture, we will always ask ourselves “What is the best way to get to our goals?”

      Really it does depend. Why do I say this?

      There are a lot of variables as to what form of exercise I might recommend for you. Not to worry I just won’t leave it there. I’ll give you examples that will fit for many different scenarios.

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      When recommending forms of cardio for people, you have to examine many things like, how long have they been training, their age, any injuries that were diagnosed by a medical professional and just some nagging pains that they may have from overly tight muscles.

      When faced with someone who is very under trained, has worked years at a desk, and hasn’t trained in decades, I would recommend a non-impact form of cardio like a bike, elliptical, row, reason being that their muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t used to bearing hundreds of pounds of impact that is caused every single time we jump, land, run. This same idea would go for someone who has any kind of arthritis in the knees, back etc.

      When faced with running, and sprinting, I would recommend these modes of cardio to those clients that have experience with these forms of cardio, whether that be athletes or just casual runners; of course, assuming that they have good running technique and footwear. Without good running technique or footwear, you are bound to run into some sort of injury eventually.

      Types of Cardio: LISS Vs HIIT, Which Is Better?

      There are two main forms of cardio that people are familiar with or have heard of.

      One of them is “LISS” which stands for low intensity steady state. This form of cardio wood be represented by a form of cardio that is not very taxing and doesn’t involve any sort of intervals. A good example would be walking on the treadmill on a slight incline and moderate paced walk that you are able to keep up for approximately an hour.

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      Currently on fire, the very well known form of cardio “HIIT” which stands for high intensity interval training. This cardio is very intense and includes spurts of near maximal effort followed by a complete rest or active recovery (walking). Perfect example of a HIIT workout would be interval sprints, sprinting maximal effort for 20 seconds followed by a minute of walking (1:3 work to rest).

      Now that you know what they are, you may be asking which one is better for you. And the answer is, both! Both will build your endurance and when we combine both of them into your training protocol, you will build your endurance and stamina even faster than just using one or the other!

      Here’s a routine you can take reference of:

      Mock Training Week (Novice Trainee)

      • Monday: HIIT sprint (1:3 work to rest) 20 min
      • Tuesday: LISS bike (slight resistance) 60 minute
      • Wednesday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if not slight incline light pace, 60 minutes
      • Thursday: OFF
      • Friday: HIIT row machine(1:2 work to rest) 20 minutes
      • Saturday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if on treadmill small incline, light pace
      • Sunday: OFF

      *the allotted work to rest ratio will vary based on the level of physical fitness of the individual

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      How to Build Your Physical Endurance

      When building a customized cardio program, it is very important to know your baseline level of cardio done via fitness testing. These tests will give you a good measure from where you are starting, so you can easily measure your progress a few months down the road.

      If you’re not familiar with exercising programming and really want to train efficiently and with good form, it would be a good idea to hire a Personal Trainer. The trainer will be familiar with performing these types of fitness test and can ensure they are being performed exactly the same each time to ensure accurate results. A Personal Trainer can also help you build a customized cardio program tailored to your goal of building endurance based on your current fitness levels.

      How Endurance Is Actually Built

      Endurance is actually built by challenging our base fitness of cardio which in turn build our Vo2 Max (most amount of oxygen we can use during exercise), which is the best measure of cardio/endurance.

      In order to challenge our endurance, we must make our heart more efficient. A good measure to see if you are improving would be to do a run for 5 minutes at a certain speed on the treadmill and then measure your Heart Rate immediately after; then repeat that exact test 8 weeks down the road to measure your progress that way.

      Another good way to measure our progress would be by increasing the difficulty of your workouts weekly/bi-weekly so you can see that you are progressing week to week.

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      Final Thoughts

      Besides the workout advice above, I suggest you combine all these following quick tips:

      • Eat healthy and unprocessed foods.
      • Challenge your cardio/endurance (train with intensity).
      • Train frequently.
      • Track your progress.
      • Get to a healthy body weight.
      • Build a good cardio program.
      • Have a goal.

      Do these consistently because without sustainability, we will not see the most amount of results possible.

      Great changes require consistency and hard work. Keep at it and follow your goals, results will come!

      Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

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