When you are training to get fit or build muscle you are going to get muscle cramps at some stage in your training program, it happens to everyone. Believe it or not people who don’t train also get muscle cramps, so no-one is safe! Make sure that you warm up properly before you start training, do at least five minutes of light jogging or skipping to get your blood flowing and cardiovascular system ready. Follow this with some dynamic and static stretching to loosen off your muscles before you do any lifting or intense exercise, as this will also help prevent injuries and allow you a full range of motion in your exercises.
Have you ever seen a football or basketball player experience a muscle spasm? A spasm, often referred to as a muscle cramp, is a contraction that happens suddenly with little or no stimulation. The contraction and pain last for a few minutes before they gradually diminish. The leading cause of muscle spasms is over exercising. One of the most important things I tell my patients is to listen to their bodies. The reason we experience pain and exhaustion is so that we know when to stop and rest.
When it comes to muscle spasms, prevention is the best medicine. If you’ve experienced leg or foot cramps while exercising, pay greater attention to how you’re feeling. If you push too hard, spasms are more likely to occur. Regularly drinking water or sports drinks, especially on hot days, will also prevent them. Some people have success preventing cramps with herbs. Try taking gingko biloba or Japanese quince before engaging in physical activity. Some vitamin supplements may also have a preventative effect.
Muscle cramps are sometimes called a “medical mystery” and tend to come out of nowhere, for no apparent reason at all. The reasons behind most muscle cramps are usually related to dehydration, nutrient insufficiency, and electrolyte imbalances. Workouts can turn into nightmares if you find yourself in the midst of the groove and then are suddenly faced with a painful cramp. I want to share with you some of the tips I give my Chino Hills health club clients.
Stretch before you exercise. I am not talking about just a 30-second stretch; it needs to be at least a good 10-minute or so stretching session. This will definitely decrease your chances of getting those painful and uncomfortable cramps. Actually we don’t know exactly what causes cramps! There are many theories about this and possible causes including dehydration, the loss of electrolytes and minerals, and muscle fatigue. Newer theories believe that cramps are caused by an imbalance between nerves and muscles. Other factors involved are age and body weight.
In most cases, muscle pain is the body’s way of telling us that we’ve taxed our bodies beyond their comfortable limits. Determining when pain is chronic or a trigger symptom for one of these more serious conditions requires close monitoring. Regardless, there are specific steps you can take to lessen the soreness and inflammation associated with muscle pain. While everyone experiences minor aches and pains as a result of physical labour, exercise, or long hours in stationary postures, chronic and repetitive stress on our muscles can break fibres down to the point that a permanent tear, sprain, or dislocation develops that becomes difficult to heal.
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