cramp

Foot cramps are very common in people who practice Pilates regularly. In this blog I would like to go through the possible causes of foot cramps and the ways of getting rid of them. I run 3 Pilates classes a week and from my personal experience at least 2-3 people in each class are regularly getting cramps. Factors that may lead to muscle cramping include muscle fatigue, lack of flexibility, exercising in the heat and imbalances of the electrolytes in the blood.

Other causes of cramps are :

water

 – Dehydration

–  Lack of magnesium

–  Lack of potassium

–   Lack of calcium

Cramps can also be caused by a variety of other reasons such as:

–       pointing the toes,

–       flat feet,

–       tightness in the feet,

–       tightness in the ankle,

–       excessive standing or walking during the day.

Muscle spasms and cramps are more common in the summer because your body loses electrolytes and minerals as you sweat. With a few precautions though, you can enjoy active fun in the sun, hot yoga class or a toe pointing Pilates class without the agony of a sudden cramp.

Cramping can also occur because muscles and tendons are programmed to stay in a fixed position. Pilates and Yoga practice puts our feet in different positions from the average person’s daily activity. Foot massage might help to release the tension. You could use a small, but sturdy, rubber ball, or a tennis ball and roll it under the bottom of your foot. You could sit on the couch or in a chair and lightly place the weight of the leg and foot down onto the ball. Roll the ball under the bottom of the foot with a linear motion, going back and forth, as needed, to massage the bottom of the foot.

tennis ball

 Whether the cause of the cramp is dehydration, injury to a muscle, vigorous exercise, repetitive movement, or holding a prolonged position, stretching can prevent or stop most cramps when they occur. Gently massaging the muscle, firmly pressing the tendons at the end of the muscles or using a warm compress can help the muscle to relax and the cramp to subside.

What Else Can You Do to Alleviate Muscle Cramps?

1. Hydrate. Try and drink a glass or two of water in the morning. If you are a coffee drinker it is important that you realize that coffee will dehydrate your body, so you need to replenish fluid after the coffee as well. I would also recommend having a glass of water before the session ( not immediately before the lesson) You can also bring some water to the workout for continual sipping. If you must have coffee or tea in your day, try to avoid drinking before your Pilates workout as it can advance dehydration which could bring on that hated muscle cramping.

2. Eat Foods High in Magnesium

Banana 34 mg

Dried Figs 44mg

Black Beans 120 mg

Cashews 148 mg

Pumpkin Seeds 151 mg

Almonds 156 mg

Whole Wheat Flour 166 mg

**Banana is high in potassium and magnesium (not the highest score but it does have magnesium in it), so you get two benefits with this one!

bananas

3. Eat Foods High in Potassium

Banana: 467 mg

Orange Juice: 496 mg

Tomato Juice: 535 mg

Dates: 542 mg

Raisins: 544 mg

Dried Apricots: 814 mg

4. Eat Foods High in Calcium: dairy products, flax seeds, nuts, green veg.

Hope you found this blog informative and here’s to the non cramping Pilates classes next week!

Have a fab non crampy weekend 😉

Natallia

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