The exact cause of muscle cramps is still not entirely known although several reasons may include:
- Dehydration due to excessive perspiration
- Poor blood circulation
- Pinched nerve
- Medication side-effect (i.e.., diuretics, statins)
- Muscle injury in which case persistent cramping may occur as a protective mechanism (i.e., involuntary splinting)
- Muscle fatigue (i.e., unaccustomed exercise stimulus)
- Mineral depletion (i.e., potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium)
Recommended prevention for muscle cramps involves ingesting maltodextrin or dextrose, quick absorbing sugars recommended pre- and post-workout to help prevent muscle cramps. Also, be sure to adequately warm-up your muscles via low-intensity movement (i.e., walking, biking, slow jogging, stair stepping, etc.) to promote blood circulation and nutrient flow within your muscles. Taking adequate time to recover (i.e.., 48 to 72 hours) between workouts may help to lessen muscle cramps. Avoid stretching cold muscles before workouts to avoid possible muscle tearing! Be sure to perform static stretches on muscles exercised immediately following your workouts.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."