You're a quarter mile out from the end of that race you've been training for all year. Out of nowhere, an unbearable pain seizes up your calf and you're hardly able to stand. This is the sudden onset of a muscle cramp.
Muscle cramps are often related to dehydration and/or mineral imbalance. They can happen with physical activity, hot temperatures and even when you're sleeping. To prevent muscle cramp, try drinking more water. Sports drinks, coconut water and electrolyte tablets added to your water can also be used to balance your body to prevent future cramping. Be sure to keep an eye on the sugar content and whether artificial sweeteners were added.
How to stop a muscle cramp:
If your running and your calf or hamstring begins to cramp, stop running, lift your leg straight out in front of you and flex your foot towards you. This activates the muscles on the opposite side of the leg and forces the cramp to stop cramping.
During a muscle cramp, a message is sent from your brain to the agonist muscle (active muscle) to tighten, you can activate the antagonist muscle (the muscle opposite from the agonist muscle) and it forces the agonist to relax. This is an example of reciprocal inhibition.
If you feel you have tried everything and seem to have a reoccurring problem with muscle cramps, you may want to consult your doctor to see if you have something else going on. Thanks for reading and don't forget to stretch!
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