It’s not the most useful advice if you’re an athlete, but it does work. In an interview with Competitor Magazine, Chris Harnish, an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at VCU explains: “Take a deep breath, stop, and stretch,” said Harnish. Static stretching has been shown to stop cramps, because it inhibits muscle contraction. Then, start slow and build your speed up.”
Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that stretching helps prevent muscle cramps from setting in. Additionally, stretching is only a temporary solution. If you are experiencing cramps during an athletic event, such as a triathlon or marathon, stretching may stop them for a short period of time, but it likely that they will return once you resume activity.
2. Back Off Early
New evidence suggests that exercise associated muscle cramps develop from muscle fatigue. Therefore, it makes sense that competing at a slower, or less-arduous pace, will help prevent cramps from setting in. Dr. Gabe Mirkin states, “If you back off early enough, you can usually prevent it.”
Again, this is not the advice that most athletes want to hear. But, as Mirkin continues, “Once a cramp comes on, it can be debilitating and impossible to continue, then “the only choice is to back off.”
3. Train at Target Race Speed
In a 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal, Martin Schwellnus found that exercise associated muscle cramps were “associated with faster predicted race times and faster actual race times, despite similarly matched preparation and performance histories in subjects.” In other words, people were more likely to cramp if they tried to significantly outperform their training.
Dr. Kevin Miller, a professor at Central Michigan University, agrees: “If you trained logging 10-minute miles and you start racing 8:45-minute miles, your muscles won't be prepared for that effort, and you'll risk cramping.”
If you have a target time or pace, make sure you’ve trained at or very close to it. Some improvements are certainly possible on race day, but don’t expect miracles to come out of nowhere.
4. Try Strength Training & Plyometrics
Going back to the idea that tired muscles lead to neuromuscular fatigue, and an increased chance of cramping, strengthening exercises can help counteract this effect. Explosive exercises like weight training and plyometrics may improve the endurance of the receptors that are thought to misfire and cause cramps.
Every athlete should consider adding weight training and plyometric exercises into their training regimen. And if you do not participate in athletics, but suffer from muscle cramps, you should also think about the benefits that these exercises can offer.
5. Stimulate Your Nerve Receptors
We already know that certain ingredients can stimulate nerve receptors in your mouth and esophagus. This is similar to the effect that happens when you eat cold food too quickly and experience a brain freeze. Now, new research is suggesting that this effect is the key to curing and preventing muscle cramps.
In his article for Training Peaks, Dr. Bob Murray explains that some ingredients can “activate sensory fibers in the mouth and throat and send signals to the nervous system that calm down hyper-excitable motoneurons and reduce the duration of a cramp.”
This is the science behind the formulation for ACV Cramp Cure.