Cramp is a painful and involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles. If you are experiencing cramps in a Ballet Body class you are not alone!
Whether it is from pointing your feet or feeling cramps in your supporting foot, if you are not used to these movements it can be very painful. The pain usually only lasts a few seconds to a few minutes but there are ways to prevent it in the first place.
Cramp is usually down to dehydration or lack of the minerals potassium, magnesium or calcium.
It can also be caused by overuse of a muscle and is your body’s way of telling you to relax and rest the muscle and rehydrate. In order to prevent cramp you should:
Stay hydrated: try to drink 8 glasses of water a day and a glass at least 30 minutes before your class. You should continue to hydrate your body throughout the class. For several hours after exercising you should replenish lost fluids with coconut water, a sports drink, milk or water.
Eat regularly: certain foods also have a high water content so don’t skip meals.
Ensure you are getting enough potassium (bananas, spinach), magnesium (nuts and seeds) and calcium (milk, cheese, almonds) into your diet.
Avoid too much caffeine: caffeine is a diuretic, which can dehydrate your body.
Avoid pushing too hard: if you are overusing a muscle that is not used to working that hard it will start to fatigue and if cramping occurs this is a sign that the muscle needs rest and relaxation. Stop what you are doing, have a drink, massage the muscle and then ease it back into movement. If the cramp is in your foot use your hands to force the foot to flex with the knee straight.
Ultimately, don’t expect your body to reach its potential and beyond if you are not providing it with the correct fuel!