Last Monday I did an hour of bootcamp. The same night I woke up with cramps and sore muscles. The Tuesday after I ran with a limp and I had really strong muscle pain. I expected even more muscle pain on Wednesday because it is usually the worst two days after exercise, but I did not have any problems anymore. How is it possible that I had such a strong pain burden, but it was quite short?
Mark Chen, physiotherapist
A muscle cramp is a relatively normal and common problem, but in most cases perfectly preventable. The cause of a cramp is simply because too many muscle fibers contract at the same time and then “hold on” to each other. That is painful, and produces enormous tension in the muscle, but in most cases it is not harmful. There are several factors that can influence the risk of cramps.
One of the contributing factors is the internal environment of the muscle, for example:
– low glucose (sugar) content in the muscle
– poor fluid balance (too little fluid intake before, during or after training)
– a mineral deficiency
The muscles have an excellent circulatory system, so if the problem is metabolic in its nature, you will often no longer suffer the next day. As seems to be the case with you.
Circumstances and sportswear also have a strong influence. Have you had very tight footwear or stockings that could impede blood circulation? Or did you, for example, train while it was very cold outside? These are also factors that can play a significant role.
Just go for a walk through cold water and then immediately go jogging again. Very uncomfortable!
Also, do not underestimate that some boot camp training can be very heavy. If your physical condition is not good enough to “keep up” with everything, muscle fatigue can simply be the cause.
The question is, was this an incidental problem? Then maybe you just had bad luck, or trained a little too hard. Do you often suffer from cramps? Then it will probably be worthwhile to look at your fluid intake, diet and other factors above.
Hope that helps!