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December 26, 2017 – 12:52 pm | No Comment

This Week 7’s (12.14 – 12.31) Affirmation: Mindfulness – I will reach for mindfulness each day.
Date – 12.26.17
B-Book 44: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
The key message in this book: Often we stop dead in our tracks …

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Home » Workout Log

How to Eliminate Muscle Cramps

Submitted by on April 6, 2008 – 7:31 am No Comment

You Can Prevent this Problem — By Liz Noelcke, SparkPeople, Staff Writer

Muscle cramps can be a very painful side effect of exercise. You work out to benefit your body and overall health, and are punished with a sharp pain in your muscles. It’s easy to get frustrated and even apprehensive when a “charley horse” occurs, but they are usually harmless and there are several tricks to help alleviate the pain.

Cramps occur when a muscle contracts and doesn’t relax. They are involuntary and you can often see or feel your muscle twitching. Even after the muscle does relax, it will remain fatigued and possibly sore. Cramps can last anywhere from a few seconds to 25 minutes or more. While some people experience cramps during exercise, they can also happen while sitting or even sleeping. They most commonly occur in the leg, especially in the calf, hamstring and quadricep.

Why me?
There are many reasons why cramps may occur. Inadequate stretching and overexertion might lead to a build up of lactic acid in your muscles. Muscle fatigue and dehydration may also contribute. Cramps are also more likely to happen in hot weather since you tend to lose more fluids.

Make it stop
When cramps do strike, instead of grimacing in pain, try a few tricks to help the muscle relax. Start by gently stretching the area. Don’t reach too far; just lightly push the muscle until you feel a stretch. Learn specific stretches to use. Another way to reduce the pain is to delicately massage the cramped muscle, without rubbing too hard. You might also try to ice the affected area for 15 minutes at a time. This will increase the circulation to the muscle.

An ounce of prevention
For prevention, include stretching in every workout. You’ll not only gain a wider range of flexibility, but you’ll also help keep muscles healthy. Take control over your breathing, especially while you are stretching. Deep breaths will deliver much needed oxygen to your muscles. Also make sure to warm up before heavy exercise so that your muscles are not shocked. Gradually ease into the exercise. Increase your training intensity slowly over time. Too much too soon will only result in injury.

Avoid eating a big meal too close to your work out. You’ll be taking blood flow away from your muscles and towards your digestion system. And as always, drink water. It will keep your joints moving fluidly and help remove toxins that might build up in your muscles.

Although not usually worrisome, if you get cramps on a regular basis, be sure to consult your doctor.

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