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    • 23 MAR 20
    • 0
    HOW TO PREVENT MUSCLE CRAMPS

    Running is a great way to keep fit with benefits for almost every part of your body, in addition to lifting your mood. In many social topics on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, many people chose running as one of their favorite activity to start the New Year and new decade. While running can be incredibly beneficial to the body, mind and spirit, let’s listen to the following advices of ACC doctors’ in promoting a long and healthy running life without injuries.

    how to prevent muscle cramps

    Hamstring is an important muscle behind the thigh; it participates in almost all sports movements such as running, folding knees, kicking, stomping etc, and plays an important role in protecting the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Due to its position at the back, people often neglects and only focus on the thigh in the front. The more imbalance found between the front and back thighs, the risker it will be for a hamstring injury to incur; in all sports, not just running.

    The quadriceps femoris is a group of muscles located in the front of the thigh. The hamstrings and quads should always be working together when you run, so watch your form!!

    You will experience cramp on the hamstrings when:

    • The upper body rounds forward.
    • The low back sinks into a default arch.
    • The hips sink back.
    • The glutes turn off.
    • The hamstrings are left to drive the stride alone.

    Cramp on the quads will happen when: 

    • The foot strike becomes a shuffle.
    • The cadence becomes heavy.
    • The hamstrings are not working to pick the feet up off the ground.
    • The feet are spending more time pounding into the ground than they are lifting off it.
    • The quads (both lateral and medial aspects) take all the impact.

    The heat, hydration and electrolyte imbalances all play a role in keeping those muscle cramps at bay. (Think proper water, food and supplementation intake)

    However, there are 3 measures that you can take with total control and apply during your race.

    Breathe

    Oxygen fuels the muscles just as much as our hydration and calorie intake.

    As we get tired, our breathing tends to stay in our chest and shoulders.

    To dial in that deeper breathing through the diaphragm, we can take 5-10 deep nose breaths (close the mouth) every 30 minutes or so.

    Relax the upper body

    In a long race, it’s very common to get stuck with those shoulders squeezed up to the ears, the arms bent tight to our sides, and little to no arm swing to help us drive the legs.

    To undo this, take a few steps to shake the arms and shoulders out, maybe even raising the arms up above your head.

    Shorten Your Stride

    Cramps tend to creep in when we are overextended in our stride.

    The further the foot reaches out, the more the body has to do to keep up.

    Try drawing your focus to pulling the feet off the ground, using the hamstrings.

    Picking the feet up a little higher will turn on the hamstrings and glutes, allowing the hips to drive forward again.

    The key on preventing muscle cramps is to focus on what you do have control over. Give these 3 strategies a try the next time you are suffering through the second half of a race!

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