Avoid cramps by staying properly hydrated and stretching Avoid cramps by staying properly hydrated and stretching

Avoid cramps by staying properly hydrated and stretching

Prevention 10 August, 2016 Isabel Vallejo


Exercising without proper hydration, low levels of minerals such as potassium or calcium, and metabolic, nervous or vascular alterations are the most common causes of muscle cramps.

“A cramp is a muscle contraction. It occurs when a muscle is overloaded or injured -for example when a person trains for a long time without warming up or stretching beforehand- due to the fact that they start dehydrating and losing minerals”, said physical therapist Lorena Jiménez. She also added that cramps affect individuals with hypothyroidism, alcohol problems, and pregnant and menstruating women.

According to Jimenez, cramping symptoms can improve with rest, massages and time. Symptoms may also be linked to an exposure to cold, stress, anemia, vitamin E defficiency, certain diseases (arthritis, arthrosclerosis and fibromyalgia), or the use of some medications, such as diuretics.

If a person experiences cramps too often, it is recommended that they increase their consumption of foods such as blackberries, chard, spinach and bananas, and that they see their doctor, as these can be the symptoms of a muscular illness due to a decrease in the blood flow of an area of the body.

The following muscles are the most frequently affected by cramps:

  • Calves
  • Anterior and posterior thigh muscles
  • Feet
  • Hands
  • Neck
  • Abdomen

Stretching is a good way to prevent cramps, mainly when they take place in the legs.