You can handle fatigue. Low concentration levels are also tolerable. But intense muscle cramps? When those hit, you double over in pain and your workout begins to take a turn for the worse. Regardless of the type of workout, everyone is susceptible to muscle cramps. Learning how to deal with them when they strike — and how to prevent them altogether — is a smart idea if you hate being sidelined.
Usually, muscle cramps will go away on their own, but by the time they do disappear, your motivation level is likely to plummet, making your workout session unproductive. Why do muscle cramps develop? A cramp is a painful spasmodic muscle contraction that involuntarily occurs during or immediately after a workout.
Electrolytes Your hydration and electrolyte status plays a key role in the likelihood of developing muscle cramps. Have you ever seen those guys sucking back Gatorade in the gym? When this electrolyte balance gets thrown off — as it often can when you start sweating in large amounts — problems may arise.
You can also create the same situation if you are drinking copious amounts of water during your workout session. Many people do a set, get a drink, do another set, gulp some more, and so on; all the while thinking they're doing their body a service.
Sure, you're replacing the fluid, but without this key mineral component muscle function is going to falter. Furthermore, if you are working out in a very hot environment, this process can be compounded, making matters worse. Not only are you sweating even more, but the heat reacts with the muscles negatively, causing feelings of fatigue and weakness. Calcium levels Another reason behind muscle cramping is low calcium levels in the body.
When the calcium concentration is low in the extracellular fluid surrounding the nerves and muscles, the nerve endings can be overstimulated, which can lead to cramps.
Muscular fatigue Soon after the muscle contracts it moves into the relaxation phase, which most often lasts longer than the contraction itself. This relaxation process, however, relies on sensory feedback between the muscle and the spinal cord, which comes from the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs located in the muscles.
When the muscle becomes fatigued, it stiffens, increasing muscle spindle activity and decreasing golgi tendon activity. When these effects occur in conjunction with one another, it creates problems with the contraction and relaxation process and a cramp results. Tips for dealing with painful muscle cramps