How athletes can avoid muscle cramps according to the Washington Post.

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How athletes can avoid muscle cramps according to the Washington Post. Muscle cramps are a painful phenomenon that happens to people who are athletic but also to those of us who aren't.   Why do they happen, and can you tell the difference between a muscle cramp vs. a strain to a joint? Joints have receptors that can fire if the joint is strained, and it feels like a cramp.   On the other hand, actual muscle cramps usually happen when muscles are surrounded by tight fascia and adhesion formation. When a muscle cramps, it will pop up instead of contracting, and it usually sustains itself in a very painful contraction that causes us to stop what we are doing. In the old days, quinine was used and it seemed to improve cramps in the muscles.   Other things that help are rubbing out the cramp until it releases or walking it off. In the warmer weather, dehydration can also cause cramps in the legs. Recently, The Washington Post offered some sound advice on how to avoid muscle cramping. How athletes can avoid — or at least minimize — cramps By Jeff Vrabel February 3 Cramps are terrible. Even the word is displeasing — it’s dismal and clunky — so it’s kind of a perfect descriptor for when your muscles tighten but don’t have enough fuel or spirit to relax back to their original happy state. The good news is that most of us who aren’t training for endurance runs or Olympic rowing competitions can generally keep our systems in working order with a consistent supply of water and electrolytes. Cramps fall into two camps, says Mark Lavallee, chair of the Sports Medicine Society for USA Weightlifting. The first is metabolic: You’re cramping up because of dehydration or an electrolyte deficiency, where your muscles are happy to contract but don’t have enough fluid to relax. The second is more mechanical, such as if you’ve never run in your life but decide to go for a nice morning five-miler. Both are awful. Here’s how to avoid — or at least minimize — the awful. Read more