Have you ever felt those sudden, uncontrolled contractions of the muscles? Whether you’ve gone through an intense workout, or just sat way too long working in front of your computer, muscle cramps may be inevitable.
And it happens mainly because of muscle fatigue or overuse, dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, and poor blood and oxygen circulation for the certain body part.
There are various ways to deal with cramps, and most of them include eating and drinking certain foods to help restore lost water and electrolytes in our bodies. Here are some suggestions on how we can prevent, combat, or at least ease the pain of muscle cramps.
Focus on a high-potassium diet
Especially if you’re a very active person, going for a high-potassium diet will be a huge help. Potassium acts as electrolytes, which are minerals that carry an electric charge when dissolved in body fluids such as blood. Since once of the main reasons we get cramps is electrolyte imbalance, increasing your potassium intake will help in normalizing your electrolytes.
So what are the usual sources of potassium? Aside from the usual go-to banana, you may also try spinach, oranges, peas, and cucumber. You can even add the cucumber to make a yummy smoothie (which makes it much cooler, literally) if you like!
Increase water intake and drinks with electrolytes
Since dehydration is one of the factors of muscle cramping, increasing water intake before, during, and after any strenuous activity will help in preventing cramps.
You might also want to stock up on drinks with plenty of electrolytes because sometimes water alone isn’t enough to help you replenish your body’s lost minerals. If you watch any sporting event like basketball or football, you might notice that most of the players take those drinks between breaks or timeouts.
Even this tip is new to me! All along I thought that the potassium from a banana would be enough, but apparently magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps as well. A benefit of magnesium is that aside from getting it from your usual multivitamins tablet, you can get it from your usual snacks!
You can get your magnesium fix from munching on almonds, dark chocolate, and peanut butter. For a healthier source, there’s also spinach, tofu, and kidney beans – which you can toss into a yummy salad!
Take a break
Aside from focusing on food and drinks to add to our bodies, there are also other ways we can prevent muscle cramps. For instance, taking a break throughout the day.
If you have a desk job, it’s best to not remain stationary for long periods of time. In the middle of your day, take a five to ten minute break and walk around the office or outside to keep the blood and oxygen in your body circulating. If you’re active, it is also crucial that you warm up before, rest in between, and cool down after your workouts.
Get some Z’s
Since fatigue is one of the main reasons why we get muscle cramps, it is also advised that you get at least 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep. Why? Because when we sleep at night, that’s the time our bodies rest and get that chance to recover and repair itself from the day’s activity. Getting quality sleep will also help you prepare for tomorrow’s activities. A well-rested mind and body is a good start to help prevent muscle cramps or any other injury for that matter.
How about you, how do you prevent or fight muscle cramps? Let us know through the comments section so we can try it next time!