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How to Eat and Exercise to Prevent Muscle Cramp?

How to Eat and Exercise to Prevent Muscle Cramp?

Muscle cramps are one of the hardest cramps to deal with. We need our legs to carry us throughout our entire day and a muscle cramp can take us off our feet and interrupt our usual flow. So here are my recommendations on how to stop muscle cramps immediately and build stronger legs and butt so that you can stop future muscle cramps from occurring.

1. The Immediate Cure

When we are experiencing a muscle cramp it’s often due to: dehydration, overuse of the muscle, and lack of using the muscle. The quickest way to cure your muscle cramps is to immediately massage the area and stretch those muscles. Once you are able to move your leg once again, head to the medicine cabinet and take an appropriate dose of anti-inflammatory medicine, such as Ibuprofen.

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2. Diet Helps

The next best step is to look at your diet! The top two contributors to leg cramps are dehydration and a lack of potassium. You should definitely increase your water intake. Especially if you drink a lot of coffee and sugary sodas, both of those dehydrate you quickly! If you struggle with opting for water to drink, take it slowly and increase it each week.

Begin by drinking your favorite coffees and sodas at meal times only. You must drink water in between meals and even create a reward system of “If I drink 3 glasses of water between breakfast and lunch, I can have that latte with my lunch!”.

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After each week, find ways to increase your water intake and swap out those caffeinated and sugary drinks more often until you find yourself predominantly drinking water. Water intake is important and changing our habits takes time and diligence!

Potassium is something we often lack and bananas are a fruit packed with potassium. However, if you are like me and do not like bananas, there are other options for getting plenty of potassium. Those foods are:

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  • dark leafy greens
  • mushrooms
  • fish
  • potatoes
  • avocados
  • yogurt

By increasing your potassium intake, you decrease your chances of leg cramps!

Try to work on your leg muscle to prevent cramps in long-term?

We can’t talk about building stronger legs and muscles without mentioning exercise. Building muscle is a fantastic way to heal unnecessary muscle cramps and melt away any unwanted fat. Here are the top exercises you should be doing each week:

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  1. Squats – not only do they target the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps (the thighs), they target your glutes (in your butt) and promote muscle building in your entire body! Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly move into a squatting position and be sure to stick your butt out as far as you can. Keep your head up and looking straight ahead and slowly come back up. For an added bonus, you can hold a light barbell. Start with 20 each morning and increase by 10 each week.
  2. Lunges – the all inclusive leg workout. It targets the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, glutes, and adductors (inner thighs). With both feet together, take a step forward and drop the opposite knee close to the floor. The lower you can go, the better. Repeat by leading with the other leg. For an extra kick, hold some dumbbells. I recommend you begin with 10 each morning and increase by 5 each week.
  3. Calf Raises – These target just the calf muscles and are especially beneficial if you are prone to cramps in your calves. To do these properly, stand close to a wall that you can reach out and touch for balance (if you need it!). Lift one leg and point it behind you. Rise up on the ball of the opposite foot, as high as you can possibly go then lower to the ground. Switch feet to do one set. It is recommended that you start out with about 12 sets in the morning and increase by 6 each week.
  4. Deadlifts – one of the best workouts for targeting your butt and lower back! You will need a barbell, so check out a local gym or ask a friend if you can borrow them. Deadlifts are incredibly easy and if you haven’t done them before, start with a light weight and gradually increase when it is no longer causing you to sweat. You begin with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift the barbell with your hands on top of the bar and slowly lift them to a standing position. Keep your head up and shoulders rolled back, chest puffed out. Now to perform the exercise, lower the bar to just above the floor and keep your back straight and neutral. Then raise the bar back again into standing position. That is one set. Repeat 5-10 times in the morning. Increase weight only when the weight no longer challenges your muscles and increase reps 2-5 each week.

Many years ago, I had an unhealthy diet full of caffeine, sugar, and highly processed foods. I led a very sedentary life and found myself not feeling well and combating leg cramps each week. By changing my diet to high protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, more water intake, and regular exercise I was able to stop the muscle cramps and really start to feel good about myself. It’s been 4 years since I have had a muscle cramp with these very simple changes in my life. Take care of that body you have been given, it will love you in return for all the love you show it!

Featured photo credit: lifehack.org via media.lifehack.org

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Angela Kunschmann

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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