Whether it's the middle of the night or during the day, no one is immune to sneak attacks from musclecramps. You can get them in your buttocks, legs or feet, and they're hard to avoid. You should know, however, that certain behaviours or habits can cause cramps. Here are some tips to avoid them.
What is a cramp?
We talk a lot about cramps, we all get them, but do we really know what they are? A cramp is a sudden, temporary muscle contraction that can be painful. It can affect an entire muscle or just a part of it and can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes. Sometimes, some residual pain persists after the cramp. A muscle cramp is also often referred to as a charley horse.
Keeping yourself hydrated
It's no secret that proper hydration limits cramps. You should drink at least 1 litre of water a day, or even 2 litres, especially if you're very active. If despite consuming a lot of water, you still get cramps, try to drink water that contains a high concentration of magnesium and minerals. Magnesium plays a very important part in staying healthy, however, studies show that about half of the population isn't getting the daily recommended dose of the mineral. It helps with energy creation, gene maintenance and muscle movements, among other things.
Choosing the right foods
If you regularly get cramps, it may be helpful to include magnesium-rich foods like lentils or green vegetables in your diet. Conversely, some products might set the stage for cramps. They include stimulants like tea, alcohol, and coffee.
Warm up appropriately
If you perform intense physical activities like sports, brisk walking or tasks that require a lot of energy, it's best to warm up properly beforehand. This will help prepare your muscles and prevent them from contracting too quickly and making you cramp. Take time to warm up with a few stretches to ensure a smooth transition into more intense activity.
Identify the movements that cause them
If you always get cramps in the same spot or the same muscle, it's likely that a specific movement or posture is causing it. Note which part of your body is most often affected so you can do something about it.
For example, if you're getting calf cramps, it may be that you're not wearing the right shoes or that you have a foot problem. You might need to go see a podiatrist or an osteopath and get them checked out. These cramps might also be related to your posture while driving or sitting at a desk. Keep an eye out for all of these possibilities.
Check for deficiencies
If you regularly get cramps and it's becoming unbearable, you may need a more thorough check-up. Indeed, a blood test can check for magnesium, potassium, mineral salt or vitamin deficiencies, which are often to blame for cramps. Once these deficiencies have been identified, you can adapt your diet or take dietary supplements so your blood work looks good next time.