Posts Tagged ‘muscle cramps’

Cutting The Mustard

February 12, 2014

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Athletes often use sports drinks and energy gels to refuel and prevent muscle cramps during strenuous activities. These costly and high sugar aids can easily be replaced by a simple fast food staple: mustard packets.

Muscle cramps are often caused by a deficiency in  acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that simulates the muscles during work. When consumed, mustard triggers the body to produce more  acetylcholine, due to it’s high acetic acid content.

Turmeric, which gives mustard it’s rich yellow hue, is thought to have beneficial properties as well. Often touted as an anti-inflammatory and a natural arthritis aid, turmeric is thought to reduce muscle stiffness and joint swelling.

Vinegar, found in prepared mustard, is another home remedy which is effective in  relieving muscle cramps. Just one packet of mustard contains the same amount of sodium as 8 oz. of Gatorade Endurance. The combination of vinegar, sodium and turmeric packs a big punch in supporting athlete’s quick nutritional needs.

If your artificially flavored sports gels and drinks aren’t cutting the mustard anymore, it might be time to try the real deal.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Hot Tips Tuesday: Relieving Muscle Cramps

August 20, 2013

Everyone who does any type of physical activity has experienced leg cramps and side stitches. Today’s tips will help you beat them in no time.

New runners are often plagued by side stitches; those gripping cramps that form at the side of your waist. It happens when the overworked diaphragm begins to spasm.

To ease the pain, slow your pace, and exhale forcefully each time the foot opposite from the painful side strikes the ground. It can also help to massage the area until the pain subsides.

Avoid them by eating lightly at least 1 hour before running. A full stomach can trigger side stitches.

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Leg cramps and toe cramps are other painful side effects of working out, or even walking in high heels all day. They often hit in the middle of the night, and can be absolutely excruciating.

For a “Charley horse,” deeply massage the area until you can get up and walk it off.

For toe cramps, pull the toes towards you until the muscle starts to relax and the worst of the pain subsides.

Muscle cramps can often signal dehydration. Be sure to drink enough water when you work out to help prevent them.

You might also try keeping tonic water on hand. The quinine in the beverage has been known to relieve the spasm.

Doing dynamic stretches to warm up, and stagnant stretches to cool down will help prevent muscle cramps post workout.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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