What is a muscle cramp?
Any involuntary contraction of a muscle can be described as a muscle cramp. They can happen during activity or exercise, but they can also happen when we are sleeping or even just resting. Cramping occurs most often in calves, thighs and arch of foot and are often times referred to as a “charley horse.”
What can we do about them?
Dehydration, and vitamin deficiency are the key causes of muscle cramps. Those of us who train in excess heat know there is no way to drink enough water during our long training hours to compensate for the sweat loss. Have you ever weighed yourself before or after a workout in the heat? Try it. While continuing to drink water and sports drinks will absolutely help, it has also become very important to supplement the nutrients lost in other ways as well.
Which vitamins and nutrients are most important to replenish and or supplement?
Eating healthy diets full of natural vitamins and minerals is the best start to not only replenishing nutrients lost while exercise, but they can also help to prevent deficiencies that lead to muscle cramps. Eating foods rich in potassium and magnesium like bananas, fish and melons are very helpful.
While eating a healthy diet is our best choice for adding essentials vitamins and minerals, often time we still don’t get enough, or as much as we need. Taking supplements such as a B complex (helps with nerve impulse), Vitamin C ( an antioxidant an it helps build collagen – important for muscle cells) , Magnesium and Calcium (these deficiencies usually coincide and are both commonly related to muscle cramps) can also be helpful.
The best plan?
Start with a healthy diet full of “clean” natural foods. Fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meat and fish. If you are still experiencing muscle cramps, particularly associated with exercise and excess sweat – try adding additional vitamin supplements as suggested above to your diet.