If you work out often, you have likely had your share of muscle cramps, aches and pains.
You can minimize the likelihood that you’ll get cramps during or after a workout or treat that muscle pain using the methods outlined here.
Don’t Neglect to Stretch
Painful muscle cramps associated with exercise usually indicate that your muscles have built up too much lactic acid. Lactic acid has to do with sugar metabolism and occurs naturally with muscle contraction. When the muscles aren’t properly warmed up and stretched prior to and after a workout, they are more likely to spasm and cramp up. A Charlie horse is an example of this type of cramping.
Unlike muscle cramping, mild muscle soreness following a workout is only natural. It’s usually a sign of a good workout. However, those muscles require rest in between workouts, so that they aren’t damaged or overworked to the point of injury.
In both instances of muscle cramps or muscle soreness, you can give your body a reprieve until your next workout using proper diet, stretching, warm-ups, massage and herbal treatments. Try these:
– This treatment uses herbs and massage to relieve sore, knotted muscles. Simply massage a very small amount of St. John’s wort into your sore or cramping muscles. You can alternatively ingest about 20 drops of St. John’s wort essential oils every 3 or 4 hours. St. John’s wort’s active ingredient, hypericin, targets your nervous system as it’s massaged into your skin, alleviating your pain.
– There’s a great homeopathic remedy out there called Mag Phos, which herbalists recommend to relieve muscle cramps of any kind. Purchase Mag Phos in pill form at 30C strength from a health food store.
– If you are especially prone to getting nighttime muscle cramps and Charlie horses, it could mean that you are lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients which you can acquire through some key foods. You likely need more vitamin D, which you can get from fish and dairy products especially – or even by spending a minimum of 15 minutes in the sun (with sunscreen protection, of course). You also may be lacking in calcium, which you can also get from dairy products, as well as leafy green vegetables and sesame goods. Finally, vitamin E is probably lacking in your diet. You can get more vitamin E by eating foods like parsley and soybeans or by taking about 350 IU of a daily vitamin E supplement.
– Sports trainers will tell you that a good way to alleviate muscle pain – and they should know – is by taking a good, old-fashioned shower, alternating from hot to cold temperatures. The theory is that the sudden and repeated change in temperatures will expand and contract muscles, allowing blood to flow better and pushing lactic acid away from sore muscles.
– As mentioned, stretching should be done before and after every workout. This is a good stretch you can do in place of a full-body massage when your leg muscles are a little sore after a workout. Face the wall, standing at least 3 feet away from it. Lean forward touching your forearms flat against the wall in front of you, keeping your feet together and firmly in place on the floor. To know if you’re doing the stretch correctly, you should feel tension in your calves. For more intensity, stand farther away from the wall.