11 April 2019
11 April 2019
Muscle spasm – who has not experienced this unpleasant feeling? It usually occurs in the least expected moment, and worse, it is difficult to avoid. This is the most common athletes’ complaint, especially runners – marathon runners and triathletes.
EAMC (Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps) – this puzzling abbreviation usually affects runners and endurance athletes. It is a painful, automatic muscle contraction that arose as a result of physical exertion. It may appear during or shortly after exercise. Its causes are not completely known.
Here are some tips on how to avoid the EAMC.
Muscle spasms may arise as a result of irregularities in water and electrolyte balance. During the run the temperature of the whole body increases. To lower it, our body produces sweat that causes loss of fluids and micronutrients, such as sodium, calcium or potassium. This in turn is the reason for increasing the heart rate and reducing the blood volume. All processes which then occur in our body, reduce its ability to expel excess heat, and this results in increasing fatigue and muscle spasms.
During exercises it is important to properly hydrate the body. It is worth emphasizing that when we practice endurance sports, we lose not only water but also electrolytes that are important to our body. As a result of dehydration, the cells lose their elasticity, and the painful contraction is only the defensive reaction of our body before the muscle is sprained. That is why it is worth getting both water and isotonic drinks – emphasizes Dr. Mateusz Janik, specialist in orthopedics and traumatology at the Carolina Medical Center.
Muscle contraction during running may also arise when we overestimate our strength. The relation between the speed / intensity of the run and the incidence of contractions was noticed by specialists who examined 200 participants of the Ironman Run in 2011 (British Journal of Sports Medicine).
If we force too high running speed, to which our body is not used, we can get a contraction. It is in fact due to disorder of nerve impulse conduction between the muscle and the central nervous system – explains the orthopedist.
During preparation for long-distance running, attention should be paid to weather conditions. The weather surprises us especially in spring – sometimes the sun shines and sometimes it rains. It affects our shape and muscle work, so it is worth training in all weather conditions. Then even hail will not be an obstacle for us! Cramps usually appear in a humid and hot environment, so if you plan to run a marathon in such conditions, properly prepare your body!
A warm-up should be carried out before any physical effort. One of its elements is dynamic stretching. Its goal is to prepare the muscles for the effort. While running, the muscles work all the time – they contract and relax. Particular attention should be paid to the calf muscle and the biceps femoris. They are most prone to spasms.