What causes muscle cramps and how to avoid them

A cramp can be defined as a violent spasm that occurs to the muscle when this one locks down and violently shortens. This is enough for an athlete to slow down, feel excruciating pain, and stop any physical activity. If a person is serious about their fitness and training, they do not want a cramp attack.


What really causes cramps? The answer is within the electrolytes.  Your body needs certain minerals that act as electrolytes to transmit nerve impulses.  They are sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride ions. These nerve impulses command your muscles to contract and relax.  During exercise you are losing water along with the necessary electrolytes.  When your body becomes too depleted of these minerals, the vehicle for electrical impulses become deranged causing cramps.

The above explanation is the most widely accepted and the most common. 

How to avoid cramps:

If we were to believe the theory of electrolytes, then these are some ways to avoid them:

  • Before exercising, drink plenty of water. All electrolytic activity in the body takes place in a liquid medium. In order for these reactions to take place properly, a good supply of water must be present.
  • Provide a good supply of minerals. Sodium and potassium act as a medium for electrical impulses and calcium and magnesium are essential for the contraction and relaxation of muscle.
  • Replenish the body with energy in the form of carbohydrates.  If the level of carbohydrates drops even a little, the risks for getting a cramp increase.

Once again, even though there is no solid evidence to what causes muscle cramps, it is still a good idea to perform good practices before, during, and after exercising. 

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