The treacherous cramp factor in pilates!

I thought this week, we would talk about cramp as it was one of my Tuesday Tips on facebook live stream — I hope you are tuning in to listen even if you do it later it will still be on my page.

Cramp the painful, involuntary contraction of muscle/muscles typically caused by fatigue or strain.

Pilates seems to be one of those classes where cramp kicks in which could be for a number of reasons:-

Your muscle/muscles have fatigued as mentioned above.

You have been injured previously in that area and this is a protective mechanism by your body to prevent further injury.

You have held a position too long and your muscles have tensed up.

Some people get cramps whilst resting, sleeping (could be the staying in position too long factor)

Do you get cramp after vigorous activity?

Cramp can be quite common if you are working out in a hot environment.

Dehydration seems to be one of the factors repeatedly mentioned but not necessarily backed up by scientific study but if you are dehydrated then chances are you will be low on sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium which help muscles function effectively.

Are you vitamin deficient possibly the B vitamins which are involved with the nervous system functioning properly.

So what can you do when you cramp well there is pretty much two options stay still and try to massage the cramping area or try to move out of the cramp position and move around.

Can you do exercises to prevent it — yes you can. I would suggest ankle mobility if the feet and calves are your cramp site. Plenty of tennis ball rolling under the arches of the foot, heel and on the calf to try to free up the faschia.

You could do a bit of walking on your heels as this will actively stretch out your calves whilst you are moving. Or you could do moves like the one above in the picture to mobilise your ankle as well.

Flexibility is important in cramp prevention. The more flexible you are the less likely your joints will be stiff with the possibility of cramp.

Going back to dehydration and minerals. Most minerals can be obtained from our diet but if you really our suffering it might be worth looking into mineral supplementation.

Strength training is always good to improve muscle function and trying a bit of plyometrics so jumping doesn’t have to be high which wakes up more muscle fibres. Pilates is great but you want to be doing a well rounded fitness programme.

Lastly, it might be worth tracking when you cramp to see if there is a pattern which will make it easier to try to take action to reduce the cramp factor happening as often.

Any questions, just get in touch.