Are you suffering from muscle cramps? Don’t know how to get rid of them? If you’ve had the misfortune of getting a cramp mid-exercise, you know it can be agonising, completely debilitating, and often brings your exercise to an unwelcome end! A muscle cramp is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that doesn’t relax. They’re uncontrollable, often very painful and commonly occur in athletes due to their intense training, exercise and perspiration. They can also occur when taking medications such as diuretics, or drinking alcohol, soda pop or coffee excessively.
Most cramps are preventable, especially cramps during exercise. Are you doing all you can to stop them from affecting your performance? If you understand why cramps happen in the first place, you’re far better equipped to help prevent them. High-heel wearers, those who perspire a lot, are on medications, drugs or drink alcohol and coffee excessively may also suffer frequent cramps. Major factors that can contribute to muscle cramping include:
- Dehydration – particularly if you’re exercising in hot, humid conditions. This is why some athletes get cramps more frequently in the warmer months of the year.
- Electrolyte deficiencies due to excessive sweating and/or insufficient dietary intake – especially potassium and magnesium.
- Protein drinks that do not contain sufficient magnesium. The body requires extra water and magnesium to synthesize large amounts of protein.
- Excessive vomiting or diarrhoea, which causes dehydration and/or electrolyte loss.
- Inadequate oxygenation of muscles due to insufficient circulation.
- Physical over-exertion. Excess stress causes magnesium loss and lower levels of magnesium causes cells to lose their water content faster because the cell membrane depolarises (ie. becomes looser and less able to hold charge). Cramping can be common during or soon after exercise, but is more likely to occur when you have cold, tight, injured or fatigued muscles.
Ways To Stop Muscle Cramps and Improve Muscle Recovery After Exercise
Are you suffering from muscle cramps and been told to stay hydrated and consume more electrolytes? The main electrolytes (combined with chloride) are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, but it’s magnesium that’s the one we usually get most depleted in and it’s magnesium that controls the movement of calcium. They have a direct relationship. Calcium is a contracting mineral and hardening element, and magnesium is the relaxing mineral because it restores the correct charge and electrolyte balance, allowing muscle flexibility. We need magnesium for muscle recovery.
One of the common risk factors of muscle spasms and cramps is electrolyte deficiency, particularly magnesium deficiency
Ensure proper hydration by drinking magnesium water (filtered water with magnesium chloride flakes added). See how to make it here…
Prepare for your big sports event by:
- Soaking in magnesium baths or footsoaks at least three times per week and,
- Massaging muscles with Magnesium Cream and Magnesium Oil Spritz daily to build up magnesium stores in cells, and recover muscle flexibility after events with magnesium massage.
- Magnesium (electrolyte) mineral drinking water for adequate hydration.
Signs You’re Missing Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential nutrient in your body, required for more than 350 biochemical reactions! Most importantly for athletes, magnesium assists with maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, bone strength and flexibility of tendons. As magnesium levels get too low ligaments become stiffer with excess calcium increasing the risk of injury. Magnesium is also used by the mitochondria to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides electrical energy for enzyme reactions.
Magnesium is used to synthesize proteins, so all of the collagen structures in the body (which are made of proteins) become weaker when there is not enough magnesium to go around. We can even suffer muscle wastage and osteopenia when magnesium levels are very low. The most important muscle in the body is the heart muscle and the left ventricle of the heart has more magnesium receptors than any other muscle in the body. Magnesium is absolutely essential to maintain normal heart and cardiovascular function. Early signs of magnesium deficiency can include:
- Muscle cramps and spasms, locked up muscles or frozen shoulder.
- Muscle weakness.
- Stiff ligaments or loss of cartilage.
- Aches or swollen joints.
- Back pain.
- Feelings of stress, nervousness or anxiety.
- Chronic fatigue, low energy, metabolic syndrome.
- Skin disorders.
- Heart arrhythmia.