Muscle cramps can be very annoying, although they do not pose anything serious to our health. Discover how to prevent them, following certain habits that will help you avoid suffering them. Keep reading!
What are cramps?
The cramps are muscle spasms, ie, involuntary muscle contractions. They most frequently affect the legs (in the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves), but can occur in any muscle of the body, during or after exercising or sometimes when you are resting, mainly at night.
Older people, pregnant women, and athletes are more prone to cramps.
Causes of muscle cramps
Some factors, such as those detailed below, can cause cramps:
· Dehydration and alcohol abuse.
· Insufficient blood supply to the muscles.
· Poor exercise technique.
· Overexertion of a particular muscle for longer or with greater intensity.
· Not being in good physical shape.
· Bone fractures
· Train at high temperatures.
· Lack of electrolytes, minerals present in the blood and other body fluids that carry an electrical charge. There may be a lack of electrolytes in the diet or loss of them through sweat.
· Menstruation or pregnancy
· Certain medications such as antihypertensives, bronchodilators, or cholesterol drugs.
· People with certain health conditions, such as kidney failure, hypothyroidism, anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, type 2 diabetes, vascular problems, or multiple sclerosis, are more prone to cramps more often.
Tips to prevent cramps
Take note of the following tips to prevent muscle cramps and injuries:
· Try to adjust the intensity and duration of the exercise so that the body has time to adapt to the increased activity.
· Avoid excessively hot environments for sports. Exercising in hot or humid climates will cause you to lose more salts and electrolytes through sweat. In this case, you will need to replace them with isotonic-energy drinks.
· Before and after exercising it is advisable to do some good stretching, especially if you practice it regularly or if you are going to make a significant effort.
· Hydrate yourself well. Also, try to increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, vegetables and nuts so that your body is prepared to expend energy.
· Eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes foods rich in potassium (banana, avocado, salmon), calcium (milk, yogurt, nuts) and magnesium (spinach, whole grains).
· Equip yourself with specific clothing and shoes to perform sports safely and avoid injuries.
· In case of night cramps in the calves and feet, prevention consists of stretching every day for 10 or 15 minutes just before going to sleep, maintaining good hydration and a diet rich in minerals, as well as exercising usual physical.
What to do to relieve a cramp
Finally, we give you a series of recommendations to take into account at the time of suffering a cramp that will help you relieve intense pain:
· Stop exercising and walk a bit.
· Gently stretch the muscle to reduce the pressure that is being put on it. Keep the muscle stretched until the cramps stop.
· Drink water or sports drinks to replace any lost fluids and electrolytes.
· A small massage on the affected muscle can also work. Heat helps relax the spasm, so hot packs often ease the pain. Once the contraction has stopped, if the area remains sore (it can be up to 24 hours after the cramp) cold may be beneficial.
· Anti- inflammatory creams applied through a massage are another option to reduce discomfort.
· If you get very severe cramps on a regular basis, see your doctor.
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