Muscle cramps usually attacks the calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, arms and abs. These cramps occur when the muscle fibers get shortened, thus, resulting in tension and the irritable sensation of squeezing. They can lash out unexpectedly during workouts, practices and games and cause immense pain and discomfort. The cramping can last for as long as six hours after the exercise. Basically, there are 3 types of muscle cramps: true cramps, tetany type cramps and dystonic cramps.
Consume plenty of water- Dehydration is one of the major reasons of cramping, so ensure plenty of hydration to prevent cramping.
Stock up Electrolytes- Deficiency of sodium and potassium could cause muscle cramps. Have a healthy intake of healthy diet. Ensure that the diet has sodium and potassium.
Vitamins- Vitamins B, D, E, magnesium and since are some vitamins which help to ward off the muscle cramps and help to palliate the pain.
Keep Moving- While cramping, it is best to keep moving to ease the pain. Cramping is known to occur when the small nerves in the muscles get overworked. Plyometrics is a type of a jumping drill which prevents the nerves in the muscles from getting fatigued. Working out helps to ease the cramps. But it is essential to stretch and work up before and after exercise. Yoga is also beneficial.
Certain Vitamins and Minerals, which help to ease the Cramps
Magnesium: This electrolyte helps in the process of moving calcium and potassium in and out of the cells, which in turn affects the muscle contractions. A deficiency of magnesium could cause leg cramps. Foods like cashews, beans, spinach and avocado are rich in their magnesium content.
Potassium: This electrolyte helps in the conduction of the nerve impulses in the body and is responsible for muscle contraction. Hypokernia (low potassium level) leads to cramps. Meat, fish, dairy products, bananas, citrus fruits, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes are some food with a good amount of potassium content.
Sodium: This electrolyte also has an important role in the procedure of nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Low sodium level in the body is caused by dehydration, excessive sweating and leads to cramping. The sodium level can be increased by an increase in the amount of salt intake.
Calcium: Helps in nerve functions, muscle contractions and for relaxing. Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese, which are rich in calcium, should be consumed to prevent cramping.
Vitamin D: Deficiency of Vitamin D may cause severe muscle cramps. This is an important require for the bone and muscles. Basically this particular vitamin is imbibed by the body when the skin gets exposed to the sunlight, which is the main source of Vitamin D. However, it can also be found in fortified milk and certain types of fishes.
Vitamin B Complex: This helps in the production of RBC's. The deficiency of this would definitely result in leg cramps. This vitamin can be found in dairy products, eggs, meat, beans, whole grains and green vegetables.