I'm pretty sure this happened because, although I have been prone to calf and feet cramps in the past, my legs were doing exercises that they're not used to - backwards skating and a lot of toe stop work. I'm a little annoyed that the cramp started when we began our toe stop work, it's something I enjoy doing, especially as it seemed to be the only thing I got the hang of straight away when I was at Fresh Meat!
Some of the girls gave me suggestions on what it could be - maybe my toe stops are too high up, maybe my laces are too tight. But having the brain that I have, I wanted to know why this was happening and if there were any ways I could prevent it from happening again. So, here we go:
We'll skip past all the medical reasons (such as diabetes as I'm pretty sure I don't have that) and skip straight to the part that I'm concerned about - exercise.
Common causes include muscle fatigue, low potassium, low magnesium, low sodium, low calcium, lack of vitamin D, dehydration and over-exertion.
So, pretty much all related to the roller derby.
- drink six to eight glasses of water a day. That's a lot of water....especially for someone who drives for a living.
- take deep breaths. Make sure you are constantly breathing while exercising (really??) to provide enough oxygen for your body.
- eat foods with lots of potassium. Things like spinach, salmon, avocados, mushrooms....
- sit in the sun. This will help with the lack of vitamin D. Because we don't have lives and/or live in Scotland. Or we could just do the next point -
- drink milk. Milk contains vitamin D!
- stretch before and after work outs.
- sports drinks during exercise. These will replace the electrolytes we're sweating out!
- avoid dehydrating drinks such as coffee and tea before exercise.
- increase your muscle's flexibility by stretching regularly.
Seems mostly like common sense. I'll start drinking more water, maybe eat a banana before training and I'll definitely start stretching out my calves regularly. I'll also take on board the advice given to me from the girls at training - I'm going to lower my toe stops a little (not too much as I prefer them to be high) and I've found a website that shows you a few different ways to put your laces (North Coast Foot Care), so I'm going to try that out too. And if you see me walking around on my toes a lot, it's me trying to slap some muscle memory into my calves xD