You’re simply minding your own business, getting up from your office chair, or walking to the refrigerator, or bending over to pick up your child’s toy, when suddenly your own body attacks you in the form of a muscle spasm. There are few things as annoying as an unexpected muscle cramp, but there are a few things that you can do. According to MayoClinic, muscle cramps can be a result of overuse, dehydration, muscle strain, or sitting in a position for too long.(1) Some medications and medical conditions can also cause cramping, but these are much more rare. Put simply, a muscle cramp is a sudden involuntary contraction of one of your muscles. They can range from annoying to incredibly painful.
If you’re aware of an injury you’ve had recently, or you’re particularly sore from some activity, then you might experience cramping in the days following. These cramps could be from muscle strain or overuse. There are a few things you can do for this.
- Get adequate rest
- Stretch and roll out (the Meteor is our favorite for this one)
- Warm up properly before other strenuous activities
If you think your cramp might be the result of dehydration, then it’s important to remedy that part of your nutrition. Dehydration can cause many more issues besides cramping, as water is vital for countless processes within your body.
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Take electrolytes like potassium and magnesium
- Drink an addition 8oz of water for every 30 minutes spent exercising
If you have trouble remembering to drink enough fluids throughout the day, you can make this easier by carrying around a water bottle, especially one with measurements on it, to help you track your fluid intake.
Don’t be fooled by dehydrating drinks! Drinks like soda, coffee, and tea can dehydrate you especially if they contain caffeine as caffeine works as a diuretic, pulling water out of your body. You can either limit the amount of non-water drinks you consume, or drink water first as a way to make sure you’re getting proper hydration.
If you get cramps and your daily activities have you sitting in the same position all day such as seated in an office chair, driving for prolong periods of time, or any other activity with limited mobility then you might consider finding ways to move around and stretch out.
- Standing desks and exercise balls make for great alternatives that can keep you moving and keep your blood flowing.
- Taking breaks and stretching, walking, or doing a quick few yoga poses can all help you avoid cramps that come from being still for too long.
If none of these tips help you avoid cramps and you think your muscle spasms might be the result of a medical condition or medicine, then you should consult with your doctor.
And regardless of muscle cramps, resting, moving, and staying hydrated are great ways to promote overall health and keep you moving and feeling better!