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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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