Calf Cramps - 5 Ways to Avoid the Pain


 Calf Cramps - 5 Ways to Avoid the Pain

Calf cramps are a common occurrence among athletes, especially runners, cyclists, and people with chronic illnesses that cause fluid build up in the bloodstream. This is because muscle tissue releases toxins into the bloodstream when it’s damaged. Exercising on flat or hard surfaces can be especially painful (especially for people prone to aches and pains).

Fortunately, there are ways to combat calf cramps before they start:

1)    Warm up your calves before you exercise, because this will alleviate some of the pain. Do this by walking briskly for five minutes at a time two hours beforehand if possible or using an incline treadmill for one minute each time you step on. Once your muscles are warmed up, they’ll be more flexible and less likely to cramp.

2)    Stretch your calves after each warm-up and before you leave the gym. It’s important to hold stretching positions for at least 20 seconds.

3)    Hydrate yourself frequently, since dehydration is a common cause of pain in calves and other areas of the body.

4)   Start taking magnesium supplements or eating foods that are high in magnesium like spinach or broccoli (one cup has almost as much as a tablet). If you don’t want to consume these foods regularly, try using Epsom salt baths before exercising.

5)    Use ice or heat packs to relieve pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply pressure for fifteen minutes to an hour. If you don’t have a compress, heat packs are still effective. Heat can be applied by using hot water bottles or heating pads on a low setting and wrapping the area with towels before leaving it in place for thirty minutes.

6)   Get enough sleep (six hours is ideal). If you’re unable to sleep through the night, do some of your heaviest training early in the morning. This allows your body more time to rest following exercise.

7)   Use a calf stretcher to stretch your calves and prevent cramps.

8)   Perform calf stretches (below).

9)   Eat food rich in calcium and vitamin C like spinach, cabbage, soybeans and oranges to help alleviate cramps.

10] Drinking plenty of water will also help you feel better because it helps flush toxins out of your system if you are dehydrated. When the toxins are flushed out, you won’t feel any discomfort from exercise.

11) Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade before exercise to replace fluids and nutrients that you lose during exercise.

12) Use homeopathic remedies like Arnica Montana to reduce swelling and inflammation.

13) If you have a history of muscle cramps, talk to your doctor about it. He or she may be able to prescribe you medication to reduce their frequency. It may also be a sign of an underlying condition that needs attention.

14) Avoid diuretics before exercise, because they can worsen the problem.

15) Lower your body temperature before exercising in the heat for 30 minutes by using an ice bath or taking a hot shower before working out. This will help your muscles deal with the high heat during physical activity.

16) Increase your carbohydrates 2 hours before exercise. They help build blood glucose levels that will supply energy to your muscles. Be sure to eat protein too, since it helps repair muscle tissue and gives you the nutrients you need for building and repairing muscle fibers.

17) Keep yourself as relaxed as possible during exercise. Worrying about cramping can actually exacerbate muscle pain, so keep a positive attitude and stay relaxed during activity instead of stressing out or pressuring yourself with goals.

18) If you’re being affected by lower leg cramps during pregnancy, stop exercising immediately and rest until the pain subsides. Drink electrolyte-rich fluids like pedialyte and eat saltier foods.

19) If you try all of these methods and are still having problems with cramps, talk to a physical therapist about it. They can help pinpoint the problem and offer other suggestions for lessening or eliminating your calf pain before it starts.


4 Simple Exercises to Get Rid of Your Leg Cramps

1] Calf Stretch: Lie on your back and place one leg on top of the other. Pull the knee towards the chest, but not past 90 degrees to avoid damaging the knee ligaments. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 5 times.

2] Pigeon Stretch: With both legs straight, hold one for 5 seconds before releasing and repeat 5 times.

3] Wall Stretch: Lay down on the floor with the leg you plan to stretch thrust up towards the ceiling. You should be able to feel a stretch in the upper calf muscle. Hold for 8 seconds and then release. Repeat 5 times (or 3 sets).

4] Calf Roll: Sit on your calves and then roll backwards onto them, making sure your lower back remains flat on the floor. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 5 times.

The benefits of a daily workout are numerous, but one of the most important is that it relieves tension. The goal isn’t to reach a certain level of fitness by working out once or even a few times a week. That will only result in frustration, because you won’t see results fast enough or at all. Instead, you should start by reducing your stress levels by exercising every day for just 5 minutes. Through exercise you can relieve stress and rid yourself of the mental roadblocks that prevent you from achieving your goals and living happy, fulfilling lives.

Chapter 3: The Benefits of Exercise

It’s difficult to say if there are actually any benefits of exercise because most people don’t exercise. Those who do regularly have so many health benefits they probably wouldn’t be able to list all of them. People who work out have more energy, better mental health, reduced stress, and look better in a bathing suit. These are just some of the reasons why you should be exercising every day.

But what really gets people working out is the problems that occur when they don’t exercise enough (or aren’t exercising at all). Luckily, there are many benefits to working out even when you don’t have a chronic injury or some other health condition. Not only do you feel better, but you may notice an improvement in your health from exercising. There are several reasons why exercise is so beneficial for your physical and mental well-being, and it doesn’t matter whether you start out with little motivation or if you have a history of smoking and the need for routine exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise

1)   It Releases Endorphins

Everyone knows how endorphins give you that “runner’s high” feeling after all of that hard work.

Conclusion: You don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits of endorphins. By walking half a mile or more at a brisk pace, you can generate your own endorphins and feel good.

2)   It Improves Your Heart Health

The American Heart Association recommends that you exercise at least 3 days a week (about 30 minutes per day) to improve your heart health. Regular exercise improves your cholesterol levels and decreases the amount of bad cholesterol in your bloodstream. That means you’re lowering your risk of having a heart attack, because high cholesterol levels can cause plaque buildup on the arteries that will eventually lead to heart disease.

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