There is nothing better than completing a challenging workout! It feels like an achievement because you pushed your limits and sweated it out. And the proof is the post-workout glow. However, there is one unwelcome visitor who can sneak up on you even after you cool down – muscle cramps. Those sudden, involuntary contractions can turn your triumphant moment into a painful experience. But fear not! It is possible to avoid muscle cramps after exercise but first, let’s find out why and how they happen.
Why do muscle cramps occur after exercise?
Muscle cramps usually occur due to the accumulation of lactic acid during the anaerobic breakdown of glucose. The body needs a quick energy supply during heavy muscular exercise, so the muscles look for oxygen due to which muscle cramps may occur. There are other factors that could trigger muscle cramps post-exercise, including dehydration, sodium, potassium, and magnesium deficiency, and poor blood circulation, says Dr Raju Raju Eswaran, Orthopedics, and Arthroscopy specialist tells Health Shots.
Inadequate fluid intake during workouts, coupled with sodium, potassium, or magnesium deficiency, contributes to cramping. Fatigue amplifies the risk, as tired muscles struggle to maintain optimal function. Poor blood circulation, especially after abrupt exercise cessation, and insufficient warm-up increase susceptibility. People who avoid stretching before starting their workout may also experience muscle cramps as it prevents blood circulation in the body due to which the nerves get compressed, which can lead to muscle pain.
How to avoid muscle cramps after exercise?
If you’ve been experiencing muscle cramps after working out, try these ways that can help you avoid it:
One of the best ways to avoid muscle cramps before exercising is stretching before and after exercise. You must warm up for some time and stretch your body properly to avoid cramps. People who stretch before and after exercise are less likely to suffer from muscle cramps or tears, as per Harvard Medical Medical. Stretching exercises make the muscles more flexible and less prone to tears. You should pay more attention to the muscles of those parts of the body on which you have worked the most. It not only relieves cramps but also improves flexibility and promotes blood circulation.
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2. Keep yourself hydrated
Not drinking enough water makes your muscles more susceptible to muscle cramps, as per the study published in the BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine. It is crucial to keep yourself hydrated by drinking a little water during the workout. You should have a proper amount of water in the body helps in maintaining electrolyte balance. Keeping yourself hydrated also helps maintain a balance of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which will help avoid muscle cramps.
3. Massage using foam roller
Foam rollers are designed to relieve muscle soreness and avoid cramps. All you need to do is gently massage the affected muscles, which will provide relief from muscle spasms. You can use your hands and the foam roller to apply pressure to the affected muscle, to ease the pain. It provides relief from the pain as it promotes blood flow and relaxes the muscles, which helps reduce the intensity of cramps.
4. Eat a healthy diet post-workout
To avoid muscle pain, it is crucial to consume a combination of adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats post-workout. A healthy and balanced diet can help reduce muscle pain after exercise. Complete nutrition helps in muscle recovery and provides relief from cramps.
Keep these tips in mind to reduce muscle cramps after exercise!