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Nutritional Reasons for Exercise-Induced Muscle Cramps 

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Muscle cramps are both a familiar and very unpleasant phenomenon, which can result in strong pain sensations and end a workout instantaneously. There are several nutritional reasons that cause sharp muscle contractions, called cramps, during physical activity. In the following article I will discuss three main reasons for these contractions and provide nutritional solutions.
 

 
 1) Lack of energy - If you do not eat well before exercising, a sudden drop in your energy levels could occur, possibly leading your muscle to contract. Carbohydrates provide your muscles with the necessary energy for intense activity, and if you are on a low-carb diet or simply didn’t eat right before your training, your risk of cramping is high. If you get muscle cramps repeatedly while exercising, you need to make sure that you have enough energy during your workout, and eat some form of carbohydrate (bananas, dates, an energy bar, etc.) every 30-40 minutes.

 
2) Dehydration Dehydration can be caused by extensive perspiration during hot and dry weather conditions or by not drinking enough liquids in to sustain the intensity and length of your workout. Extreme dehydration may pose a serious health problem not restricted to muscle cramping, and so it is very important to maintain a healthy level of hydration throughout your workout. Make sure to drink at least 1/2 liter of fluids (water or sport drinks) for each hour you exercise, and at least double that on an exceptionally hot day.
 
 
3) Mineral shortages – The minerals that are important for preventing muscle contractions are  Magnesium, Sodium (salt), Calcium and Phosphorus. These minerals are commonly lost through perspiration, and may disturb the electronic balance of the contraction mechanism inside the muscle. A combination of isotonic drinks—or sport drinks—can help prevent this from happening by providing the body with salts and carbohydrates. They are especially recommended during hot weather conditions or an exceptionally intense workout. These minerals are also found in many foods, like bananas, fresh and dried fruit, tuna, peanut butter, almonds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, yogurt, milk, etc.. If you suffer from frequent muscle cramps, whether it be hours after a workout or while you’re asleep, try to incorporate more of these foods into your diet. 

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