Running Precautions: Keeping Muscle Cramps at Bay

Muscle cramps are one of the commonest medical issues of athletes occurring commonly during endurance events (which are inclusive of the likes of triathlons, marathons, and other similar events) and physically-demanding sports.

But what causes them? Let’s see to that first before moving on to the main topic of our discussion.

Common Causes of Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps

  • Older age.
  • Insufficient conditioning.
  • Poor stretching practices.
  • Intense activity beyond a level of feasibility.
  • Having a history of cramping.

So that takes care of the “causes.” Over to the “symptoms” now.

Symptoms of muscle cramps

Muscle cramps

  • Sharp local pain at the site of the cramp. The pain can be severe or minor depending upon the nature of the cramp
  • Hardening of muscle tissue in the affected region.
  • Tenderness of muscular tissue in the affected area.

So now, we have covered both the causes and symptoms of cramps in the previous two sections. Moving on, we’ll see the different ways that can help to keep this problem at bay, especially at times of a physically-demanding race. So let’s begin without any further ado.

How to prevent muscle cramps during running: A few professional suggestions

Muscle cramps1. Take enough time to stretch. And while you are at it, make sure you pay particular attention to the muscles that are more prone to cramping than the others in your body. Stretch those muscles gently and thoroughly before involving yourself in the activity.

2. Prepare yourself for the natural elements.

For example,

If you are running a marathon in a dry climate, make sure you take ample time before the race to accustom your body to the steamy conditions of the region. This can take up a week or even more. Nevertheless, do not ignore this point at any possible cost, especially for your own good.

3. Keep a sports drink close by.
Muscle cramps

Although we are still unsure whether dehydration actually causes muscle cramps or not, it’s still a good idea to stay well-hydrated before the day of your race. At least, there’s one thing for sure. Hydration can definitely lessen the severity of any cramps for good.

4. Always try out a few hopping or skipping drills as a part of your regular training. These drills can help to improve your muscle-nerve coordination thereby, helping to keep cramps at bay in the best possible manner.

5. A few more notable mentions:
– Maintain daily fluid and salt intake.

– Avoid overdrinking of fluids, particularly low to no-sodium fluids.

– Maintain the perfect electrolyte balance in the body. This is particularly very important for you to do, especially if you are participating in a dry environment event.

What to do when cramps occur

Muscle cramps

Even if you take ample precautions (like the ones mentioned above) to safeguard yourself from the possible occurrence of a cramp during a race, muscle cramps may still occur.

What should you do in such circumstances? Have a look.

  • Stop running immediately. Get down on the ground and stretch the affected muscle. This can help a lot in relaxing the spasm for good.
  • Apply pressure on the affected region for instant relief. Your physio can assist you with this.Note: You can even do this yourself in the absence of a physio. Just use your fingers to dig into the affected tissue and hold it like that for 10 seconds straight. You will definitely feel the relief after a certain period of time as a result of the same.
  • Drink fluids with electrolytes. This can temporarily help to resolve cramps for your relief.

When should you see a doctor?

Muscle cramps usually go away on their own. However, see a doctor, if your cramps:

  • Are strongly linked with redness and leg swelling.
  • Cause an unusual level of discomfort.
  • Are frequent in their occurrence.
  • Don’t improve under self-treatment.

A final word…

Muscle cramps can be kept at bay with a little more work at the time of your training.

So don’t miss out.

Work hard during training to prevent their possible occurrence at the time of the event. We wish you the very best of luck with your competition.

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