With Spring and Summer almost here, people are getting the itch to exercise more. While getting your sweat on feels great, a leg cramp doesn’t. What causes a muscle cramp, and how can you prevent them? Read on.
What is a cramp?
When our muscles function normally, they work antagonistically, contracting on one side and lengthening on the other, then reversing the motion as our arm or leg swings the other way. When a cramp hits, the muscle spasms, but stays there. Blood can’t flow properly into the muscle to help it lengthen. The pain then begins and you have a full-fledged cramp.
How to prevent cramps: Stop and Stretch
While many theories on preventing cramps are still being tested, one of the only direct ways to prevent them is to stop doing whatever motion you’re doing when you feel a cramp coming on. Then stretch that muscle. Stretching minimizes the pressure on the muscle, relieving the contraction and encouraging it to relax. Also, make sure to stretch and warm up before a workout. Stretch following the workout as well.
Before starting a rigorous workout program such as training for a marathon or a new high-intensity training method, see a specialist at American Foot and Leg to ensure that your legs and feet are prepared.