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Tips for Avoiding Cramping

It's starting to get HOT which means more perspiration to cool us down and with this comes a complaint I’ve heard several times in the last few days - cramping. Cramping is likely due to loss of electrolytes and minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, etc.  While we can try our best to get these in abundance in our diet, we will still lose sodium and chloride in large amounts and magnesium and potassium and other trace minerals in smaller amounts while sweating.

Seems like it became hot and humid overnight – especially for the night classes – and they say this is just the beginning.  It sounds like a joyously hot and humid summer is on its way and it is only mid-May!  Yay, Georgia!

Here are some strategies that may help to avoid cramping as Georgia weather takes root the next few month heating up the gym or as you increase outside-of-gym activities this summer:

1.       Drink extra water (duh)… yes this one is obvious, but is it something you’ve actively been thinking about doing and are you prepared by bringing plenty to the gym or for increased summer activities? 

2.       Add minerals or electrolytes to your water or supplement with a mineral supplement

3.       Drink some electrolyte infused water throughout the day. Can be found at ANY grocery store.

4.       Drink coconut water.  This is NATURE’S best electrolyte filled drink.  And nature is never wrong.

5.       If you get very little sodium in your diet, add some extra sodium to the meal before and after your workout (for replenishment’s sake).  Do not be afraid of the salt (as long as you do not have medical conditions)!  People worry it will make them puffy but what it actually WILL do is help you avoid cramping by retaining some water in your cells.  What would you prefer – delicious salty tastes and not cramping, or super salty sweat and keeling over with cramps? 

As always, think of these minerals and any diet changes as part of an overall diet and check with your doctor on any changes.  For example if you already pour half a salt shaker on every single meal, you probably do not need to add any more salt. 

Also, if you do all of this and you still are cramping excessively, it’s been proven that resting, stretching, and drinking a salty drink (pickle juice is #1 on this list - gross but effective) will reduce the cramps. 

We have some sports beans at the gym in case you get light headed and we can whip you up a salt water cocktail for any cramping issues you may have.  Make sure you let a coach know if you see any signs of these.

Now go enjoy the weather with dual water bottles in hand!

–Afra 

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