Posts Tagged ‘charley horse’

Muscle Cramps: How to Overcome

Ever endure the pain of a muscle that involuntarily tightens (and doesn’t go away)?  That’s a muscle cramp (a.k.a., “a charley horse”).  Figuring out why you get them can be tough since there are all sorts of reasons for it (dehydration and electrolyte imbalance is a common one, along with overuse of a muscle or not enough blood being shunted to muscles).  How to overcome:

  • DRINK FLUIDS: water with every meal and 1-2 cups in between meals
  • DILUTED GATORADE: with exercise, try a diluted sports beverage for extra electrolytes
  • STRETCH & MASSAGE: relieve the pain pre and post exercise
  • WALK IT OUT: stop the exercise and try to walk out the cramp (if in arms: massage the area)
  • SODIUM: try to pre-load the exercise with a saltier food addition (like a pickle or a side of chips)
  • KEEP UP YOUR FITNESS: Maintain fitness all year round to prevent cramping as often



NxJ’er Fitness Questions

QUESTION 1: “Do you lose a percentage of the muscle you gain if you don’t stretch properly after working out?  True or false?”

False.  You cannot lose muscle from not stretching.  You can only lose muscle when you stop using it and/or eat less calories to maintain the accrued muscle gains.  No matter what, it is important to stretch post-exercise to maintain a good range of motion and flexibility.  Stretching also helps preserve tendon elasticity and improve flexibility. Static stretching (holding a specific stretch for 20+ seconds) is best left for post-workout, when muscles are already warmed and fatigued.

QUESTION 2: “Why do you get running cramps?”

Running cramps, also known as “charley horses” or “side stitches,” are muscle spasms.  The National Library of Medicine gives a good description of what charley horses are and how to prevent.

QUESTION 3: “How often should I change my sneakers?”

Part 1: You should get new shoes every . . .
Correct answer: 350-550 Miles

While it varies depending on each person’s running style, body weight, and the surface on which she runs, most of us should change our shoes after running 350-550 miles.

Part 2: What’s one way to tell if your sneakers are too worn?
Correct answer: Twist them to see if they twist easily.

One way to see if shoes are worn out is to give them the Twist Test. If you can easily twist your shoe your mid soles are worn out and it is time for new shoes.