March 18, 2010

Everything You Need to Know About Muscle Cramps

Stretch to avoid Muscle CrampsMuscle cramps are extremely painful and unfortunately, they are also extremely common. It is estimated that almost everyone will experience a muscle cramp at some time on their life. So if you haven’t had one yet, don’t worry, because your time is likely coming.

A muscle cramp is an involuntary contraction of a group of muscles that can be extremely painful. Most muscle cramps occur in the legs, often in the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves or foot areas. The cause of muscle cramping is unknown; however, many medical professionals agree that muscle cramping is associated with electrolyte loss, dehydration, mineral deficiencies, muscle fatigue and/or poor conditioning habits. If you experience muscle cramps on a regular basis, you may want to look into each of these causes for a solution. Do you stretch before doing any physical activity? Do you take water with you to yoga class or on your morning jog? Although muscle cramps are generally associated with these causes, starting a new activity can also induce later muscle cramps, usually because your muscles aren’t used to moving in the way that you’ve asked them to.

If you’re having a muscle cramp, you’ll know it immediately. Whether a muscle cramp has awoken you in the middle of the night, or just happened as you stretched out your foot toward the television during your favorite soap; the sudden contraction of muscles will cause enough pain to draw your attention. Mild muscle cramps will often relax within a few seconds, however more severe muscle cramps can last up to fifteen minutes. To speed up the process of relaxing your muscles again, there are a few things that you can do. If your muscle cramp has occurred while you’re doing physical activity, take a break for a few minutes. Gently stretching and massaging the inflicted area will additionally help to ease the pain of the cramp and relax your contracted muscles. If the cramp occurs in a muscle that contracts and relaxes with a joint (i.e. your calf), putting your joint in a position that will stretch out the muscle will help to speed up your recovery time.

Muscle cramps can be prevented, and if you experience muscle cramps frequently, you should consider incorporating these tips into your lifestyle:

  • Exercise Good Conditioning Habits: When exercising, it’s important to warm up your muscles by using proper static and dynamic stretching methods to prevent muscle cramps.
  • Maintain Hydration: Make sure that you are hydrated before, during and after doing any physical activities.
  • Stretch: If you experience frequent muscle cramps during the night, stretching before bed may be the solution your body needs for a good night sleep.
  • Avoid Fatigue: You know your body’s limits better than anyone else does. If you think you’ve done too much, take a break.

Everyone experience muscle cramping at some point in their lives, however, if you experience severe muscle cramps on a regular basis, speak to your health-care provider as they may be able to provide you with a medication to prevent future muscle cramps.

 

August 4, 2009

Stretching, Why It Is As Important As Physical Activity

It seems that these days everyone is trying to get in shape (including me), whether it is working or not I am not sure. However, there seems to be one thing a very large group of people forget to do. Stretch. Stretching is so important for you because of many reasons.

For anyone that plays sports, or is trying to become a professional athlete, you cannot forget to stretch. Goalies, in hockey need to be able to twist and move their bodies in, almost every way imaginable to stop the puck. Basketball players need to be loose and ready to play a game that uses almost every muscle in the body. Professional fighters need to be extremely flexible. All those guys in the UFC using high kicks are incredibly flexible.

Although stretching is need to perform well in sports, stretching is needed to make sure you keep showing up. Evidence shows that stretching the muscles before physical activity (make sure you warm up before you stretch) will greatly decrease your chance of injury. Stretching will keep you out their, be it on a field, court, or mat, day in and day out. The more time you spend practicing and playing the better you will be.

Also, stretching helps you relax. The amount of stress related illnesses is ridiculous and people could definitely use something to help them calm down. Maybe stretching is exactly what they need.

Regardless of what you do, stretching is an incredibly important thing to consider. Stretching can help you with your performance in sports, and will help keep you injury-free. Additionally, stretching is a great way to calm down and relieve tension and stress.

Information provided on this website is for general purposes only. It is not intended to take the place of advice from your practitioner.

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