We’ve had a mild spring, but summer is just around the corner! Do you plan on celebrating the warmer season with a swim? Beware of the dreaded swimming cramps. If you experienced this, you know exactly what it is: Sharp pains coursing through your leg and your body hurts to even paddle your feet. These cramps not only mess up your day but they cause tons of pain. But I can assure you that you can avoid these cramps.
I get this question all the time from swimmers; how do I avoid muscle cramping? Well, I’m here to tell you that there are four ways to avoid this pain; the fourth might be a shock to you!
It’s not just drinking a glass of water before you get in the pool; stay hydrated all day to ensure healthy muscles when you swim. The number one cause of muscle cramping is dehydration, and it’s safe to say most of us aren’t drinking the necessary amounts of water.
The goal to staying hydrated is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water a day, or at least 8 glasses of water! Being hydrated does more than preventing muscle cramping; it also helps with your energy, skin, and stamina.
Fuel With Electrolytes
Another key to avoiding cramps in the pool is to fuel your body with the right ingredients to charge your muscles and blood cells to perform best! Electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium minerals that dissolve in water and form electrically charged electrolytes! They have an impact on how your muscles function, how alkaline your blood is, and how much water you have in your body.
Think of sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade to give you the electrolytes your body needs to avoid cramps. Throw away the high-sugar carbonated drinks; those will only do your body harm!
Stretch Before and After
Always stretch before, during, and after swimming to avoid cramps. Stretch your legs and your toes to warm up those calf muscles, which are usually the first muscles to feel the attack. I always tell my athletes to incorporate stretching into their daily routine to ensure that whatever exercise you participate in, your body will be ready to go!
And the Secret is…
The secret I tell my athletes to avoid cramping in the water, or any sport is pickle juice! It may sound crazy, but the sodium and electrolytes in pickle juice will prevent cramping. Tons of professional athletes in football and basketball have been using this trick for years; so if you enjoy pickles, keep that jar handy for this swimming season!
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