Muscle cramps can be a real hindrance on your workout, especially if you’re in the middle of cardiovascular exercise like swimming or running. And while they’re not all that physically debilitating, they can put a real hiccup in the rhythm and flow of your routine. Muscle cramps can happen for a number of reasons, including overusing your muscles, dehydration, a lack of minerals, and poor blood flow to your muscles. Luckily, there are ways you can prepare your body before a workout to help reduce your chances of cramping up.
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A leading cause of muscle cramps is a lack of minerals such as potassium. A lack of potassium can cause an electrolyte imbalance in your muscles, which will make your muscles cramp up. To guard against this imbalance, try eating some foods high in potassium before you engage in exercise. Foods high in potassium include bananas, baked potatoes with skins on, raisins, Lima beans, and tomato sauce.
Magnesium and Calcium
A deficiency in magnesium and calcium can also lead to muscle cramping and is usually the main proponents behind muscle cramping at night. Waking up in the middle of the night because of a brutal Charley horse is a horrible way to be awoken from slumber, but supplementing your diet with magnesium- and calcium-rich foods can help prevent this from happening. Foods like black beans, raw broccoli, halibut, pumpkin seeds, and cooked spinach are high in magnesium, and dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese will help give your muscles an important calcium boost.
Aside from keeping your mineral levels balanced, staying hydrated is a surefire way to help prevent yourself from cramping up. Considering that your body is mostly water, it’s safe to assume your muscles are too. When you workout your body is constantly sweating and your body can easily become dehydrated, which can lead to cramping. The easiest way to combat this cramp-causing scenario is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before and during your workout.