Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Exercise Induced Muscle Cramps

Welcome to the "World of Exercise"......................

Believe it or not when we exercise we start to realise that we may have just more than 1 or 2 muscles in our body.  But when we exert ourselves a little harder then normal we discover the agonising pain of Cramps.

Cramps are a frustrating problem to us in the sports and physical activity world and commonly occur even in the fittest of athletes.  They mostly come during the height of competition, immediately after (whilst driving home in the car) or even at night in deep sleep.  There is no definite cause of cramp and there are a lot of reasons that can cause cramping, as well as there be little known prevention to cramping.  On a more serious not muscle cramping can be the result of rare medical conditions, however more are exercise-induced or associated.

Types of Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps EAMC

  • Fatigue Associated Cramp
    • Biological process- excitation of the muscle spindle & inhibition of the Golgi tendon organ. 
    • Localized to the over worked muscle
    • Risks factors
      • Age
      • Poor Stretching habits
      • Cramping History
      • Excessive exercise intensity & duration
    • Treatment
      • Rest
      • Passive Stretching of the effected muscle/group
      • Holding the muscle in a stretched position until muscle activation is relieved
  • Exercise Associated Cramp
    • Electrolyte deficits
      • When the athlete has been sweating extensively and have significant sodium and chloride disturbances
      • This usually starts in a small localized muscle and leads to muscle spasms, mainly starting in the legs at first.
    • Treatment 
      •  Ingestion of high-salt solution (3g in 500ml of sodium electrolyte beverage every 5-10min), this is after exercise measurements
      • Massage
      • Ice application can help to reduce swelling of effected muscle and relieve pain
      • Re-hydration 
  • To prevent EAMC's
    • Athlete to be well conditioned, to reduce muscle fatigue
    • Regularly stretch the muscle groups prone to cramp
    • Maintain hydration and electrolyte levels, carb stores before/after and during exercise that is  over 1hr
    • Reduce the intensity of exercise and duration if necessary  Key factor to training****

*****  Having the right Training program, balanced to your ability and also the time of the season or timing to you Target event.  At Paradise Tri we manage and plan your training to target this and eliminate  risks of injury (Cramps) and train your body to be ready for that start line.*********

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