Muscle Cramps-Causes and Prevention (Contd…)



What Causes Muscle Cramps?

Nutrient Deficiencies:

  • The 4 main electrolyte minerals are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals play a direct role in muscle activity. Deficiency in one or more of these can lead to cramping, especially if the body is deficient during exercise. This is one of the leading causes of cramping.
  • The RDA for sodium, potassium, Magnesium and calcium is 2400, 4700, 420 and 1000 mg/day respectively.  Sweet Potatoes (much of the mineral content is in the skin), Potatoes (much of the mineral content is in the skin), Bananas, Carrots, Many kinds of fish, Beets & Beet Greens, Squashes are rich source of potassium. Pumpkin, Nuts, Halibut, Pollock, Yellow fin Tuna, Quinoa, Oat Bran, Buckwheat, Beans are source of magnesium. Fortified dairy products, Sardines, Tofu, Spinach, Soybeans, Turnip & Beet Greens are source of calcium.


  • Dehydration has a huge effect on performance and it is the second leading cause of muscle cramping.  The thirst usually is a signal for increasingly severe dehydration, by the time you feel thirsty, you have been dehydrated for some time.
  • Drinking more water helps to get rid of usual muscle cramps.

Restricted Circulation:

  • Restricted blood flow to a working muscle is also a factor that can cause muscle cramping. This would play a much larger role in older individuals, rather than younger ones.
  • Tight clothing during an activity could potentially restrict blood flow to a certain degree, which might trigger cramping.
  • Do regular exercises and stretching, drink plenty of water, and take healthy diet.

Repetitive motion:

  • This could also be called ‘overuse cramping’ or ‘repetitive motion’ cramping. This type of cramping occurs when a movement is performed repetitively, or when a contraction is maintained for a very long time. Take regular ergonomic breaks in such activities. Do stretch exercises.

Lack of Necessary Flexibility:

  • When flexibility is not sufficient for the activity being performed, and it is interfering with the desired movements, then it becomes a factor in causing cramping.  A decent amount of flexibility should be maintained in order to prevent cramps.
  • If you have a constantly tight muscle, and regular stretching might be necessary. If a strength imbalance exists the opposing muscle needs to be strengthened. So, if your hamstrings are constantly tight, your quads, abs, and hip flexors probably need to be strengthened.



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