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How to decrease muscle cramps

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Do you suffer muscles cramps? Perhaps your magnesium levels are low. Here are a few simple ways to help reduce the risk.

Every runner knows the feeling – one minute you’re happily cruising along, the next you’re clutching at your calf in pain. 

You’ve got a cramp – or an exercise-associated muscle cramp (EAMC), as the experts call it. But what exactly are you experiencing? 

A muscle cramp is a painful, spasmodic and involuntary contraction of skeletal muscle. It occurs most often in the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf. 

Runners generally find they start to cramp at the beginning or end of a run. 

While it’s still unknown exactly what causes cramping, it’s thought that fatigue, poor fitness levels, mineral and electrolyte imbalances, excessive sweating and tight, inflexible muscles may up your risk. 

Here are our tips on reducing the risk of cramps and how to find relief when they occur.

1. Get your electrolytes right

Our muscle tissue relies on a number of nutrients to help it contract and relax, including a range of minerals and electrolytes.  But, being human, we don’t always have that balance of minerals and electrolytes right, which can make our muscles more susceptible to cramping.  Electrolytes are composed primarily of calcium, potassium and magnesium so, to reduce your risk of cramps, you should be eating foods high in those three minerals.  For potassium, that means leafy greens, vine fruits like tomato and cucumber, sweet potato, banana, carrot and avocado; for magnesium, leafy greens, pulses, nuts, seeds and whole grains; and for calcium, firm tofu, canned fish, yoghurt and milk.  Try adding an electrolyte-rich fruit juice to your diet each day.   A magnesium supplement may also be of benefit. Kappa Nutrition Magnesium L-Threonate Advanced Complex reduces muscle tension and cramps when dietary intake is inadequate. 

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