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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

      Freelance Writer

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      Published on June 7, 2019

      10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

      10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

      Having a hard time going to the gym? Fear no more!

      In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 in home lower body workouts anyone can try at home and their exercises. No gear needed for these workouts, just some space and a cup water waiting for your disposal.

      There’re 3 main parts in this article:

      If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just get into the first section 10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere right away.

      If you want more guidance on the basics, check out the second section Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

      And the last section is about what you should do before and after working out.

      10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere

      If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just read on this section.

      If you’d like to have more guidance on each exercise listed in these 10 workouts, take a look at the following part Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

      1. The Starter Workout

      3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

      • Squat
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Glute Bridge

      (30 sec to 2 min rest in between each set)

      2. The 7 Minute Workout

      3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

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      • Walking Lunges
      • Quarter Squat
      • Step Up
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      (1 min rest in between each round)

      3. The Unilateral Workout

      4 sets of 16 reps of:

      • Reverse Lunges
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Skater Squat
      • Single Leg Glute Bridge

      (30 sec to 1 min rest in between each set)

      4. The Endurance Workout

      2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

      • Squat
      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Glute Bridge

      (1-2 min rest in between each set)

      5. The Back To Back Lower Body Workout

      5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

      • Skater Squat
      • Step Up
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Single Leg Glute Bridge
      • Quarter Squat

      (30 min rest in between each round)

      6. Strength Lower Body Workout

      5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Squat

      (30 sec to 2 mins of rest time in between set)

      7. Glute Burner Workout

      4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift
      • Single Leg Glute Bridge
      • Quarter Squat

      (1 min of rest time in between set)

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      8. The Advance Lower Body Workout

      3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

      • Squat
      • Walking Lunge
      • Skater Squat
      • Reverse Lunge
      • Glute Bridge
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      (2 mins of rest time in between set)

      9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

      2 sets of 10 reps of:

      • Reverse Lunge
      • Step Up
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

      2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

      • Walking Lunge
      • Single Leg Deadlift

      (4 mins of rest time in between set)

      Lower Body Exercises Breakdown

      Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[1] that you found in the workouts listed in the first section of this article.

      1. Squat

        A squat is a compound movement which entails the recruitment of a majority of your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).

        How to squat:

        Feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Toes pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels till you hit parallel with your butt and knee, drive through the heels, return to starting position and repeat.

        2. Walking Lunges

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          A lunge is a complex movement which recruits mainly the lower body.

          The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat which is stationary and then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance which engages the gluteus medius as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

          3. Reverse Lunge

            A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

            By reverse stepping, you are allowing for a better emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

            4. Quarter Squat

              A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps muscles.

              5. Skater Squat

                A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion which fires both the hamstrings and glutes.

                6. Step Up

                  The Step Up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing Step Ups will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

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                  7. Glute Bridge

                    Glute Bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                    8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                      Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt. The step up can be done in a chair or a step in the stairs

                      9. Single Leg Deadlift

                        Single Leg RDL’s engage that entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts.

                        Before & After Working Out

                        Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up. Even though it’s home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[2] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                        Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                        Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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