Cramping in your Pilates class! Does this sound familiar? You are in your Pilates class doing the Swan Dive or Thigh Stretch for example and suddenly your foot or calf cramps. Forget the exercise it’s agony! All that lovely relaxing, focusing and concentrating out the window!
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So what is Cramp?
A cramp happens when a muscles suddenly shortens and becomes tight and spasms, although the reasons are not clear. Most cramps don’t last long and can be relieved by massage & stretching.
- over training with exercise
- medication for lowering cholesterol
- not drinking enough water
- too much alcohol
Where does it occur?
- Arch of the foot & toes!
- Abdomen & rib cage area
So what can we do?
When we experiencing a cramp it’s best to stretch it out until the spasm goes. Usually once it’s has gone there is no after effect. Occasionally if it’s been bad you might feel a bit of muscle soreness, this will go in time.
We have seen what we think are the causes and some we can’t do anything about e.g. ageing! But some of the other causes we can!
Not drinking enough – if you head to a pilates class straight from a day at work, the chances are that you haven’t drunk enough during the day. So we need to get into the a habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day. If you work in an office why not take a bottle of water with you and keep it on your desk. Drinking lots of water just before a Pilates class wouldn’t be beneficial and often you just feel it slopping around in your stomach whilst performing the rolling back, and it won’t help stopping cramp!
Over training – training hard and fast regularly and not looking after yourself can lead to muscles becoming tired and more prone to cramp. Sweating during your session will lead to dehydration as above and hence higher risk of cramping. So we need to drink more during exercise and let our body to rest as well.
Stretching regularly – will also help also reduce your risk of cramping. Check out our post on Pilates, Stretching and Flexibility.
Old Wives tales
In class we often discuss remedies for cramp and have come up with a few, some well known some not so common!
It’s thought that lack of potassium (salt ) is a major cause of cramp (hence the need to stay hydrated!)
These are our favourites!
- Small square of dark chocolate (my default!)
- Tonic water (without the gin!)
- Avocado (new one to me!)
- Corks under the bed!
- Bar of soap under your pillow! ( I have a client who swears by it!)
They might be worth a try especially if you get bad cramp regularly .
Stretching regularly is known to help reduce the risk of cramp.
Why not try our 5 minute FREE stretch video.
Short of time? Great to do in front of the TV.