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What Foods Help Prevent Cramping During Exercise?

by
author image Jason Aberdeene
Jason Aberdeene has been a freelance writer since 2008. His articles have appeared in the "UCSD Guardian" and on various websites, specializing in teen health. An assistant at Kagan Physical Therapy since 2009, Aberdeene has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.
What Foods Help Prevent Cramping During Exercise?
Preventing cramps during exercise will help you work out longer. Photo Credit Michael Martin/iStock/Getty Images

If you are in the midst of a workout routine or sporting event and you experience a gripping pain in one of your muscles, chances are you are suffering from a cramp. While the intensity and duration of cramps may vary, muscle cramping is often caused by a combination of dehydration and overeating before exercise. Certain foods can help reduce cramping by adding nutrients to your body.

Water and Food

One of the primary reasons individuals suffer from cramps during exercise is due to dehydration. While drinking water before, during and after an exercise will help keep you hydrated, certain foods with high water content will also help supply you with vitamins as well as additional fluids. Fruits such as coconuts, honeydews and watermelons all have a substantial amount of water in them, making them ideal for individuals who want to prevent cramps during workouts.

Potassium-rich Foods

Another major cause of cramping during a workout routine is a lack of potassium in your bloodstream. Prior to your workout, consuming foods rich in potassium -- such as bananas, broccoli, avocados and soy products -- will help reduce cramping in your body. While you're sweating, potassium keeps your electrolytes balanced, preventing you from sweating out too much salt while working out. This helps regulate the salt in your body, preventing dehydration and cramping.

PIckles and Pickle Juice

Athletes use pickles and their juices to help reduce and prevent cramps. Pickle juice is composed of water, salt, calcium and vinegar. Pickle juice and pickles work by restoring salt to your bloodstream in an effort to reduce sweating and cramping. Keeping electrolytes balanced with salt will prevent your body from sending improper signals to contract muscles, resulting in extended cramps and pain in your muscles.

Caution

While certain foods can help prevent cramping during exercise, consult your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise and that these foods are appropriate for you. While adding salt to your diet may help reduce cramps in the short term, high salt content in your diet has numerous side-effects, including high blood pressure and other health concerns. If you consume pickle juice, dilute it with water to reduce the concentration of salt.

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