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Muscle cramps: six tips to prevent them.

Muscle cramps: six tips to prevent them.


No matter what your level, it can potentially happen to all of us at one time or another. Unfortunately, cramps are a fact of life for sportsmen and women, whether you're into weight training, street workout, fitness, cycling or other cardio sports (like soccer). So it's all the more important to know these 6 effective ways to prevent muscle cramps before and after exercise.

1. Drink enough water

Dehydration is one of the main causes of muscle cramps during exercise. Your body's organs, tissues and muscles need water to function properly.

Water loss can increase the risk of muscle cramps. So, if you want to avoid muscle cramps before and after exercise, you need to supply your body with water to replace the water lost through perspiration. Drink around a liter of water during your workout.

2. Prevent mineral deficiencies through diet

During exercise, water and minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and chloride are eliminated through sweat. Minerals play an important role in conducting nerve impulses and enabling muscles to contract. Excessive water and mineral loss can disrupt the process of sending nerve impulses from the brain to the muscles, leading to muscle cramps.

So it's a good idea to include foods rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium in your daily diet.

Foods rich in magnesium include yoghurts, green vegetables, seeds and nuts, fish, soya, avocado, bananas and dark chocolate.

You can increase potassium intake by eating white beans, potatoes, apricots, squash, mushrooms and bananas.

Calcium can be found in low-fat cheese, milk, broccoli and almonds.

Too much sodium can be harmful, leading to health problems. A list of sodium-rich foods includes table salt, sauces, fish, cucumber, among others.

3. Increase your carbohydrate intake

Carbohydrates are considered the body's fuel, the aim being to provide energy for daily activities and exercise. Low carbohydrate levels can increase the risk of fatigue and muscle cramps.

Athletes and body-builders need to increase carbohydrate intake by eating healthy, carbohydrate-rich foods such as cereals, wholemeal bread, potatoes, rice, oats, bananas, buckwheat, etc...

4. Do some stretching

If you're looking for effective ways to avoid muscle cramps, you've come to the right place. So you should never ignore the need to stretch right after your workout.

Several studies have shown that stretching can significantly reduce the risk of muscle cramps. In fact, experienced trainers and coaches always recommend stretching for their athletes

5. Use sports drinks

Carbohydrate and mineral-rich sports drinks aim to keep your body hydrated and also help maintain balanced electrolyte and glycogen levels in the muscles.
Due to the intensity of exercise, it is recommended to consume water during your weight training session. But drinking specialized beverages during exercise can be a good compromise.

6. Get plenty of vitamin E

Vitamin E is good for your health, your skin and your hair. In fact, regular consumption of vitamin E is effective in the prevention and treatment of a variety of illnesses, including chest pain, high blood pressure, artery and leg pain, heart disease and cancer.

In addition, vitamin E intake can help reduce the risk of muscle cramps. You can increase your vitamin E intake by eating spinach, tofu, sunflower seeds, walnuts, vegetable oils, shellfish, pumpkin, broccoli and squash. Alternatively, you can take vitamin E supplements, but their use must be supervised to avoid the risk of overdosing.

Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers