Tips To Avoid Calf Cramps
Calf cramps can affect performance whether you workout on a treadmill, are a runner, or take part in any type of activity that has you running around. These 5 tips may help you prevent calf cramps from happening.
There are several factors that can lead to your calves cramping and let’s take a look at some of the things that can possibly be a cause.
* Loss of essential salts
* Added muscle strain
* Blood flow restriction
Here are five steps that can help prevent calf cramps from happening and ruining whatever activity you are involved in.
1. Warm Up and Cool Down
Yes, I am sure you know this but do you actually do it? Seriously if you are involved in any fitness routine or sport, then it is crucial to have a proper warm up. When I say proper warm up it should include any movement to get the blood flowing followed by gently stretching your muscles. A proper warm up can help you avoid getting calf cramps and can also help lessen the chance of getting an injury that can often occur to muscles that are not properly warmed up.
Since we are talking about warming up, we should also remember the importance of cooling down. Cooling down after any fitness routine can also help prevent the risk of injury and the possibility of cramping. Stretching as this time might be more effective as the muscles have been more than warmed up.
There are some great products available that can assist with stretching of the calf muscles. Let’s take a look at two of my favorite to use to stretch the calves.
A foam roller is a great piece of fitness equipment that anyone serious about there fitness regimen, whether it be exercise or a sport, should be using. Foam rolling, which was once just used in therapy, has hit mainstream because of all the positive benefits it has.
The Medi-Dyne Pro Stretch is another great apparatus for stretching the calf muscle and also the anterior tibialis, which is located on the front of your shin.
I have left some links to these products below if you are interested in them.
2. Train For What You Are Preparing For
You may not have heard this before but it is something to consider. For example, if you are training for a sport, you will practice the necessary skills required and prepare your body for the strain that you will endure in the event. An exaggerated example would be if you only train for sprinting and then try to run a marathon, your body may not be prepared for the length of the marathon compared to the length of a sprint. This lack of preparation for the longer event could lead to cramping.
Cramping also can occur from the added strain you may be putting your calf muscles through. Even the slightest of incline can be enough added strain to cause you to cramp up, especially if you never prepared your muscles with training at an incline. Training for the specific manner you are going to be involved in can have your muscles ready for the added stress.
3. Stay Hydrated
Whatever fitness regimen or sport you are doing, chances are you will be sweating. When we sweat it is our body’s way of cooling itself down. The body is mainly made up of water and considering the fact that when you sweat you lose fluids, it is important to drink to stay hydrated.
The importance of staying hydrated can not be stressed enough as your body will demand you get hydrated.
Dizziness and rapid heart beat are just some of the signs that you may be getting dehydrated. Another good indicator would be if your mouth and lips start to feel dry. Of course there may be times in your regimen that you can’t take in fluids so it is important to have some ready for you as soon as you can take it in.
4. Wear Comfortable Clothing
This one is sometimes hard to get across. If you are just worried about looking fashionably good while possibly sacrificing performance, then that may be a downfall. It is important not to risk injury or cramping by wearing clothing that is so tight that it will restrict your body’s ability to move or restrict blood flow.
Wearing the proper clothing can save you from experiencing the pain of getting cramps in your calves.
5. Proper Nutrition
We know that when we sweat we lose fluids but what should be known is that you also lose nutrients. There is plenty of speculation that calf cramps can be caused by the lack of such things as sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium.
Here is a list of foods that may help in preventing cramps:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dark Leafy Greens
Calf cramps can be detrimental in any fitness routine or sporting activity and can take you right out. Try these steps to help prevent calf cramps and hopefully to bettering your performance. If you feel nothing is working then seeking the help of a health professional is always recommended.