If you are already getting hit with muscle cramps during or immediately after a workout, you are walking on the painful wild side. Muscle cramps can end your training quickly and have you crying uncle like a toddler if you are not careful. It does not matter how tough you are! Just ask LeBron James. He had to be carried off the court in the NBA Finals years ago like a wounded soldier because his cramps prevented him from being able to walk.
Muscle cramps usually happen because of three reasons: The person is dehydrated, the muscle has been overused, or you have been holding a certain pose too long. More often than not, it has to do with dehydration and a depletion of the minerals your body needs to function properly.
Cramps used to be a major problem for me as well. I’d make the trek to the gym only to have my workout cut in half because the tightness and soreness prevented me from going another step on the treadmill or even attempting another strength training set. But after a bit of research, I realized an ounce of prevention can keep the cramps from ever showing up in the first place.
Drink Plenty of Liquid
Coaches always tell athletes to drink water before they are thirsty to stay properly hydrated. Now that I am older and want to avoid cramping up, I fully agree with them! Pick liquids that have plenty of electrolytes such as coconut water and some of the healthier sports drinks if you find you are already cramping up.
Eat Certain Foods
Bananas are really one of the best gifts nature has ever given us! They contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium (all three nutrients relieve muscle cramps). Avocados, watermelon, and Greek yogurt are also good choices. If I am heading out on a run, I will usually have one of these before I venture out and then another one after I finish.
Around my area, it costs about a dollar a minute for a good massage. This can get expensive rather quickly. But if you want to treat yourself now and then and relieve muscle soreness and cramping at the same time, there is nothing like a massage for those tight and strained muscles.
Take a Hot Shower
A hot and steamy shower can relieve even the most painful cramps. The hot water will feel so good that you won’t want to get out of the shower! Hopefully, you have a tankless water heater that can supply you with an endless amount of hot water without running out. And if you really want to spoil yourself, look for a good shower bench you can sit on while letting the steaming water soothe your cramping muscles.
When your muscles are limber, they are less likely to cramp on you. Do your stretches every morning once you wake up and just make it part of your routine. Muscles that are contracted and rather stiff will become painful sooner rather than later.
Use These Tips to Stop Cramping for Good
If you follow these tips day in and day out, you may never have to suffer through such painful cramps again that have you crying out in agony. A little prevention can go a long way when dealing with cramps. However, if you feel your cramping is above and beyond what is normal, it would be wise to consult with your doctor. Sometimes there are certain medications that encourage cramping and discussing your concerns with a medical professional would be a good move.