What is a muscle cramp?
A muscle cramp also known as a charley horse is a sudden, involuntary painful contraction of a muscle. Waking up to a painful cramp in the middle of the night can cause severe temporary pain, but the pain can often be resolved by stretching the affected muscle. Muscle cramps happen to almost everyone no matter what the age, gender or fitness level.
Nutrition, Hydration and Electrolytes
There are many reasons why muscle cramps occur. Three of the most common reasons are a lack of proper nutrition,hydration and depleted electrolytes. In the case of poor nutrition, one must make sure they are taking in the proper micro and macro nutrients. Micro nutrients are supplementation of vitamins and minerals. Macro nutrients are making sure one is eating the foods that are optimal for maintaining a healthy body. Everyone needs water to function properly. Drink water before and after working out to rehydrate properly. Don't forget to consume the proper amount of electrolytes.
Eat properly to prevent Muscle Cramps
Nutrition is important to consider when noticing that your muscles are cramping more than usual. Make sure you are putting nutrients such as potassium, calcium and magnesium back into your body daily. To prevent your muscles from cramping consume plenty of foods high in potassium such as yams, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears etc…Foods high in calcium are cheese, kefir, whole milk yogurt, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Make sure to obtain quality sources of magnesium in whole grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, beans and leafy greens.
There are many theories out there on how much water everyone should be drinking. The truth of the matter is that you are not everyone. There is a rule of thumb that you should drink eight glasses of 8 0z of water daily or that you should drink your body weight in ounces. If this works for you then by all means keep doing that, but try to listen to your body. Monitor when you are going to the bathroom. Are you urinating less or have not been to the bathroom in a few hours? This a good sign that it is probably a good time to go and drink some water. If you notice that your urine is dark yellow you are probably not getting enough water. Chapped lips and dry mouth are also good signs that your body needs water. Make sure you are drinking quality water with trace minerals. Try to avoid tap water.
So, you are drinking the proper amount of water and eating the proper diet, but you are still cramping. Maybe you are not getting enough electrolytes with your water. Having the correct balance of electrolytes in the body is critical for proper function of cells, organs and organ systems. The common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate. Avoid sugary drinks with artificial ingredients and coloring that may cause inflammation and dysfunction. Instead stick to making your own fresh preservative free electrolyte drink before you go out. Here is an excellent recipe to get you started. See our article on electrolytes here. I personally make sure I get my electrolytes daily by using liquimins™. Liquimins™ are 5.6 oz packages of powdered electrolytes that you mix with water. They are easy to grab and go by putting a packet or two in your work out bag or to mix in your personal water bottle before heading out. You can read more about liquimins® at https://traceminerals.com. As always thank you for checking out and reading my blog.