Have you ever had one of those days when you’re working out at the gym or at home in high spirits and suddenly an involuntary muscle contraction makes you almost writhe in pain, and you have no option but to reach out for the resting bench?
Well, that’s what a serious muscle cramp can do to you. In fact, according to Dr. Kruti Khemani, physiotherapist and founder, Continuum Sports Physiotherapy and Rehab Centre, Mumbai; these cramps can lead to serious injuries and if undiagnosed, can cause health problems like kidney failure, peripheral nerve or blood-supply issues or even muscle tear depending on the cause.
So, it’s best to avoid these 6 workout mistakes that can make you more prone to getting a muscle cramp:
1. Your gym’s a hot mess
We mean, temperature-wise, of course.
“Working out in extremely hot weather, say 45-50 degrees, is one of the major causes of cramps. This can lead to excessive sweating, which in turn can cause an electrolyte imbalance and does not allow the muscles to relax,” Khemani points out.
“The best way to prevent cramps here is to replenish the electrolytes by consuming foods/drinks like bananas and nimbu pani, that contain adequate amounts of sodium and potassium during the workout,” she adds.
2. You’re working out in a hangover
If you had too much alcohol the previous night, chances are that you’re also going to feel quite dehydrated the next day. Are you regretting last night’s drinking sesh? Try these 5 foods and drinks to get rid of that hangover
While the hangover hasn’t yet worn off, sweating it out at the gym and dehydrating yourself further is only going to deprive you of the essential electrolytes, leading to a muscle cramp.
3. You’re distracted
There’s no doubt about the fact that mind-muscle coordination is what’s going to yield you the best results if you’re exercising regularly. This involves fully concentrating on your movement and on the muscle involved in a particular exercise.
If you often feel distracted, It’s time to say yes to avocado for better focus and productivity, says study.
One distraction and that coordination can go for a toss, making you more likely to perform the exercise using the wrong stance, and giving you a terrible muscle cramp in return.
4. You’re overexerting your muscles
Muscle fatigue due to overtraining can also be a factor leading to muscle cramps—especially if the muscle is really beaten up and damaged. In this case, it will not be able to absorb nutrients and get rid of waste effectively.
“To prevent this scenario, it is best to ensure you refuel after an hour-long sweaty
workout, with foods/ drinks high in the required electrolytes,” Khemani suggests.
5. Restrictive clothing
Many athletes and workout enthusiasts love compression shorts and super-skinny yoga pants. However, such clothing can restrict your blood circulation and lead to muscle cramps according to Khemani.
“Make sure that your workout gear is comfortable and not too tight,” she says.
6. Skipping warm-up
If you’re one of those, who skip the warm-up cardio and stretching and heads straight to weightlifting, be prepared to get a muscle cramp any time.
“Warming up with dynamic stretching indirectly prevents muscle cramps related to electrolyte imbalance by mainly reducing your risk of injury and preventing muscle spasms/cramps,” Dr Khemani explains.
But in case, you still get a cramp, here’s what you can do
Dr Khemani suggests relying on sports massage and stretching the affected muscle in the presence of an expert to relieve a muscle cramp.
Additionally, she also recommends dry needling, mental-relaxation techniques, and thorough warm-ups before exercising a means to deal with this problem.