Cramps come and go. The pain causes discomfort that is difficult to ignore. A person who has experienced leg cramps know how it is almost impossible to get rid of. The good news is that there are ways to make it go away.
Most of the time, cramps happen involuntarily. They can occur anytime, even during sleep. Cramps can be triggered by a lot of factors, including electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, nerve problems, diabetes, pregnancy, and medications. And of course – they can also happen during a workout! Here are some tips to finally get rid of it:
Relax your body
Try to relax your body during training. Unclench your jaw, relax your face, and keep your fingers from forming a tight fist. When you are tense, you are wasting energy and placing unnecessary force on your muscles.
Improve your range of motion
Work on your mobility to improve your range of motion, especially if you sit most of the day. Mobility exercises can help loosen up tight muscles, so you can perform movements better and without cramping up.
Apply hot or cold compress
Applying hot or cold compress on the area will ease inflammation and relax the tight muscles. When using a heating pad, you have to make sure that the temperature will not burn your skin. The pain will disappear almost instantly, but it is best to keep it there for about 20 minutes to ensure the tightness goes away.
Strengthen your legs
Strengthening your leg muscles will help reduce discomfort, as well as the occurrence of cramps. There are several exercises that target your leg muscles, loosen them up, and get rid of the pain. If you exercise regularly, you will gradually improve your muscle strength and cramps will become less frequent.
Foam roll before and after workouts
Most athletes use a foam roller before and after their workouts. When done along with mobility exercises, your joints and muscles will loosen to make you more flexible. Relaxing tight muscles will also get rid of the discomfort caused by cramping. There are plenty of instructional videos online that you can watch to learn how to use the foam roller.
Do a proper warmup
It is important to do a proper warm-up before every workout. It is not advisable that you do static stretching prior to exercising as your muscles are still “cold” and it might only cause injuries. Always warm-up with dynamic stretching, and then finish your workout with some static stretches. Doing this will help prepare your mind and body for a higher intensity workout.
Wear appropriate clothing
You can help reduce leg cramps by wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, and applying heat. It is also important to wear the right footwear when exercising or when going about your day. Your goal is to wear clothes and footwear that will not strain your muscles.
Take it slow
Your muscles need enough time to prepare for the extra load. They should progress gradually with your training. If you are preparing for a marathon, then you cannot simply jump from 5 kilometres a day to 26. An undertrained body has a high risk of getting cramps, and injuries. Never take shortcuts.
Consider supplement or medication
Leg cramps are often caused by vitamin deficiency. Your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to function well. Magnesium and calcium are two of the many substances that can help get rid of leg cramps. If you are having frequent cramping, your doctor might recommend vitamin E supplements and muscle relaxants.
Increase fluid intake
People will always tell you to drink plenty of water to prevent cramps. This is true. Dehydration is one of the causes of muscle cramps, so increasing your water intake is the best remedy. Make sure to drink at least two liters of water a day, or more when you are extremely active or you sweat a lot.