Muscle Cramps and how to avoid them!

Muscle Cramps and how to avoid them!

23rd Feb 2018

Have you ever woken up during the night with an excruciating muscle spasm?

Most of us have experienced a sudden, painful muscle cramp leaving us gasping in pain and desperately trying to stretch out the affected muscle.

Muscle cramps are more common in the calf or foot muscles and while the exact cause of cramps is unknown, they are often associated with muscle strain or overuse.

Risk factors may include include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and poor physical condition including tight, inflexible muscles, according to the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel.

Older people with reduced muscles mass and pregnant women are also at greater risk of muscle cramps according to the Mayo Clinic.

Dehydration, Electrolytes and Muscle Cramps:

Dehydration and sodium lost through sweat have long been thought a common cause of cramps.

A 2005 study on 13 healthy college-aged males measured the incidence and time to onset of muscle cramps when they exercised in hot and humid (60 per cent) conditions, with and without fluid and sodium consumption.

They found that those who consumed a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage while exercising took twice as long to experience a cramp as when they consumed no fluids at all.

However, 69 per cent of the subjects who were hydrated and supplemented with electrolytes still experienced muscle cramps, with the study’s authors saying “it appears that dehydration and electrolyte loss are not the sole causes of exercise-associated muscle cramps.”.

While the evidence is not conclusive, it is known that “Fluids help your muscles contract and relax and keep muscle cells hydrated and less irritable,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Sports Dieticians Australia state something similar. In an article about cramping, they write that while there is no evidence on the direct role electrolytes and fluid consumption plays in preventing cramps, dehydration “can contribute to premature muscle fatigue which does increase the risk of cramping.”.

“It is important to replace adequate amounts of fluid and sodium to minimise the level of dehydration during exercise, especially in hot/humid conditions,” they say, while also encouraging carbohydrate consumption.

“Adequate carbohydrate before and during exercise may prevent premature muscle fatigue [which increases] the risk of cramping.”

Workers that are outside in the hot and sweaty Australian conditions often sweat more than someone exercising that's why replenishing with a product like Thorzt is so important. Not only will having enough fluid and topping up your body with important electrolyets help avoid cramps, it also keeps dehydration and its not so nice effects away.

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