It's time to get outside or run on that treadmill. You are having an awesome day and are ready to be on the move. You begin your run and feel empowered that you are working out. All of a sudden those uncomfortable muscle cramps creep up on you and your mood takes a 180 degree turn.
You're determining, "Why am I cramping? I drank plenty of water, and I am in shape." Sometimes cramping is not just from dehydration or lack of fitness. There are many factors that can cause cramps as you run. The absolute cause of cramps is still under investigation. However, here are a couple of common potential causes of muscle cramps to consider.
1. Incorrect breathing- Getting enough oxygen for your muscles makes a significant difference. A great way to know if you are breathing correctly is by placing your hand on your abdomen. As you inhale your abdomen should rise and then fall as you exhale.
In addition, being nervous can affect the way you breathe, because you are likely to take shorter breaths rather than deep breaths. Make sure your stomach is not too full on fluids or food because that creates less space for your abdomen to expand as you breathe.
2. Electrolytes- Common electrolytes include potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and chloride. Any deficiency of these minerals can cause an imbalance in your muscles. This then makes it difficult for your muscles to properly contract.
Cramps can lead to muscle injuries, so you do need to be extra cautious with how you treat them. Remember to stay hydrated and avoid running at the hottest time of the day. Do some static stretching after a workout to help lengthen, relax and decrease unneeded muscle knots. Eat plenty of carbohydrates hours before you start a run so your muscle will not fatigue so quickly.
While running place your hands on top of your head if you get a stomach cramp. This helps align your joints and muscles properly therefore your posture becomes better. Massaging the stomach cramp clockwise can also be a remedy. Hopefully next time you run you will not get those painful cramps!