Do you have a problem with muscle cramping during exercise? If so, you may not be getting the hydration you need. Sweating due to heat and exertion causes you to lose electrolytes and fluid in the space between you muscles. This causes cramping, which can quickly spread throughout your body. To prevent cramping, drink water every 15 minutes while working out and try to consume at least 96 ounces of fluids per day.
Make sure to also avoid anything with high amounts of caffeine including coffee, soda, or chocolate. Instead, look for foods that alkalize the body - sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots (for potassium); nuts, beans, and oats (for magnesium); and dark leafy greens (for calcium).
If you’re taking medications, monitor them. Certain medicines can lead to dehydration, which can also cause cramping, especially in the legs. Cramp inducing drugs include diuretics and prescription medication for asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally, if you’re in the middle of an activity when a cramping spasm occurs, slow down, or stop the activity altogether. Cramp symptoms are similar to a muscle tear or pull and continuing can make it worse. You may need to stretch, take a break and rehydrate. If you experience cramping, talk with a trainer. Sometimes, the problem can be fixed by adjusting something as simple as the seat on your bike or getting a new pair of shoes. Keep up with your fitness routine this year, and don’t let muscle cramps slow you down!