Factors that contribute to Muscle Cramps 13 May 2020
I know those of you that have had a muscle cramp or spasm may be fearful of it reoccurring. So I know what to explore some of the contributing factors to muscle cramps. The aim of this is by minimising the contributing factors you will reduce the likely hood of getting muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps commonly coincide with dehydration. So good hydration before, during and after exercise is important, especially if the exercise exceeds one hour. So how much should you drink? Hydration guidelines are personal but the goal is to prevent excessive weight loss i.e. >2% of body weight. You can weigh yourself before and after exercise to see how much fluid you have lost through sweat. One litre of water weight 2.25 pounds. Depending upon on the amount of exercise, temperature, humidity, body weight and other factors you can loose anywhere from 0.4 to 1.8 litres per hour. A good rule of thumb is to always drink enough fluids so that your urine is clear, pale yellow & copious.
Sodium & potassium are the major components of sweat. So anyone who exercises hard for more than four hours in heat such as marathon runners, triathletes, tennis players etc should replace the lost electrolytes. While a lack of sodium and potassium may contribute to muscle cramps, it should be noted that a potassium deficiency is unlikely as your body contains more potassium than even a marathon runner might lose during a hot, sweaty race. However you can rule out this as an issue by eating potassium rich foods such as bananas and oranges on a daily basis. Replacing the sodium lost during sweaty exercise is vital and this can be done by having an endurance sport drink or a salty snack.