Advertising
Advertising

Muscle Cramps Don’t Come from Nowhere. It Happens for A Reason

Muscle Cramps Don’t Come from Nowhere. It Happens for A Reason

As anyone who suffers from them will know, muscle cramps can cause a huge amount of discomfort and pain. This is why so many people are keen to find out how to prevent cramps. Muscle cramps often strike with no warning at all. It could be while you are working out, while you are walking, or while you are relaxing.

There are various possible causes of muscle cramps, and familiarizing yourself with these will help you when it comes to prevention. A lot of research has been carried out into the causes and treatment of muscle cramps. This has enabled medics and researchers to find solutions that can help with the prevention of these cramps.

Muscle Cramps Can Strike at The Most Unexpected Time

Muscle cramps can cause a lot of issues for sufferers. They can be very debilitating and in some cases can even pose a hazard. For example, you may be driving when these cramps strike, and if they affect your leg muscles your driving will naturally be affected. They can strike at night, which can cause issues with sleeping. They could even strike at work, which could pose another hazard depending on the type of work you do.

Muscle Cramps = Uncontrolled Contraction of Muscles

We need to learn how to tackle issues such as muscle cramps ourselves. To do this, it is important to have a better understanding of why muscle cramps occur and what might be causing them.

Advertising

In a nutshell, muscle cramps are caused through the involuntary contraction of muscles. They usually affect the calf muscles but they can strike elsewhere too. You may have heard these cramps referred to as ‘charley horses’.

You will know when you experience a muscle cramp, as the muscles in the affected area become very tight, hard, and painful. You will actually be able to feel the spasms and the speed with which these cramps can strike can come as quite a shock. If you are a keen exerciser, you should bear in mind that cramps can occur many hours after exercising.

Muscle Cramps Are Caused by Multiple Reasons

There are a number of possible causes of muscle cramps, and it is important to familiarize yourself with these if you want to know how to prevent cramps. So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you may be experiencing cramps:

  • Lack of circulation in the legs
  • Exercising calf muscles too hard [1]
  • Failing to stretch and warm up before exercising
  • Being too active when temperatures are high
  • Being dehydrated
  • Muscle fatigue
  • A deficiency of magnesium, potassium, or both
  • An underlying cause such as a spinal issue or nerve problem
  • A side effect of taking certain medications

Interestingly, muscle cramps are very common but they are most common at night when you are sleeping. According to reports, 75 percent of muscle cramps are experienced at night. By familiarizing yourself with the possible causes, you can take certain steps to prevent muscle cramps. This could include drinking more water, warming up before exercises, and putting less strain on the muscles.

Advertising

When Muscle Cramps Strike, These Easy Exercises Help

One of the things you will be keen to learn if you suffer from muscle cramps is how to treat them. Of course, prevention is the best medicine, and this is something we will look at. However, if you are suffering from muscle cramps the first thing you need to know is what action you can take to treat them and alleviate the pain. Below are some of the key solutions for treating muscle cramps:

Do some stretching

When you get muscle cramps, your muscle goes into involuntary spasms. This causes a lot of tightening, discomfort, and strain. When these cramps strike, you can try stretching the area. Simply drop and stretch the affected area to try and alleviate the cramps. Better still, if there is someone there with you it is worth getting the area massaged. This can help to quickly alleviate the spasms and discomfort.

Try to relax

It is natural when muscle spasms strike to try and push through the pain. However, this can often make the problem worse. Instead, try to relax and let the pain ease away. Simply take a break and wait for the spasm to pass rather than to risk making it worse by battling with it.

Speak to your pharmacy

You may find that anti-inflammatory treatments can help to tackle muscle spasms [2] . It is therefore worth taking a quick trip to the pharmacy to see if they can recommend anything. Some of the treatments available over the counter at pharmacies can help to ease the soreness that stems from muscle cramps.

Advertising

These are some of the simple but effective ways in which you can quickly treat muscle cramps and alleviate some of the symptoms.

How to Prevent Future Muscle Cramps 

Of course, one thing that is very important is learning how to prevent muscle cramps on a long-term basis. To do this, you need to look at the possible causes of these cramps. You can then reduce the risk of them occurring by taking certain steps. Some of the key steps you can take include:

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, so you need to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.

Take vitamins

Deficiencies such as magnesium and potassium can increase the chances of muscle cramps. Taking vitamins can help to combat this possible cause.

Advertising

Make sure you stretch

Always make sure you do some stretching exercises before and after working out, as this can help prevent muscle cramps.

Eat the right food

As mentioned before, certain deficiencies can heighten the risk of cramps. Therefore eat foods that are rich in nutrients like potassium, such as bananas. Also foods that are rich in magnesium and calcium can help.

Limit alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration, which in turn can lead to muscle cramps. You should therefore limit your alcohol intake – this will also benefit your health in other ways.

As you can see, there are various ways in which you can treat and prevent muscle cramps. Many of these are lifestyle changes while others are short term measures to provide immediate relief. By keeping the causes of muscle cramps in mind, you can more easily treat and prevent them

Reference

[1]The National Center of Biotechnology Information: Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps
[2]WebMD: Drugs & Medications Search

More by this author

Brad Shugar

Business Development Consultant

6 Ways to Instantly Stop the Suffering From Leg Cramps! A Handy List of Letter of Recommendation Templates That Fit Different Occasions Muscle Cramps Don’t Come from Nowhere. It Happens for A Reason trump make america great Will Donald Trump Add to The True Success of America? 10 Ways to Cure the Symptoms of a Hangover

Trending in Health

111 Benefits of Almond Milk You Didn’t Know About 210 Benefits of Sleeping Naked You Probably Didn’t Know 3Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning 4Sleeping Too Much but Still Exhausted? Why You Can’t Sleep Well At Night 5Your Body on Caffeine Addiction: 70 Cups of Coffee in 7 Days

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

Advertising

When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

    Advertising

      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

          Advertising

          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

              Advertising

                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

                  Read Next