How to Avoid Muscle Cramps During and After Exercise

06/03/2017

How to Avoid Muscle Cramps fitness

Learning how to avoid muscle cramps can be an important way to improve your performance during exercise while you decrease the discomfort you feel. Cramps typically strike at the end of an intense workout or midway through an endurance event. The reason is that muscles are at the highest risk of cramping when they are tired.

That said, if you take care to know how to avoid muscle cramps and apply those steps, you’ll be much more like to keep cramping at bay. This helps to explain why newer athletes have a higher chance of suffering this pain unnecessarily, while more experienced exercisers progress through their workouts without them.

Two of the primary issues to keep in mind when it comes to how to avoid muscle cramps are heat and hydration.

Heat exposure, particularly to athletes who are unaccustomed to it, increases the chances of cramping muscles. For that reason, as the seasons change into warmer weather, it’s important to ease into workouts. During the very hot days, take it easy and don’t push yourself as hard as you might do on the cooler days you’ve been used to. Your body will build a tolerance to the temperature and you’ll get back to your expected performance in time.

Hydration is also an important issue to understand. It’s not simply a matter of chugging down as much water as you can stand. There is more to hydration than just fluids. You also need to focus on keeping up your electrolytes and carbohydrates. All three of those components, when in balance, help your body to avoid or delay muscle cramping.

Focus on steadily drinking enough fluids while keeping up those other factors as well. While studies linking hydration to cramping have seen inconsistent results, adequate hydration is important to many other functions in your body as well, particularly when you’re exercising. Therefore, regardless of the degree of impact it can have on your risk of cramps, it’s still a good idea to place a solid focus on getting the right balance of water, potassium, sodium and carbs into your body.

As you first learn to establish this balance, pay close attention to your thirst and respond to it as it happens by drinking more fluids. You can also try weighing yourself (in the buff) immediately before and immediately after you exercise. Any weight difference you see is as a result of water loss – fat and muscle just don’t burn away that quickly. If you see a level of weight loss greater than 2 or 3 percent of your reading before you did your workout, you may not be hydrating enough and you could be putting yourself at a higher risk of muscle cramps.

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