Exercise induced muscle cramps are caused by dehydration. If you are exercising in the heat or for an extended period of time, you have a higher risk of experiencing muscle cramps due to the amount of salt you are losing through your sweat. These are also known as electrolytes which is now a common word known in households thanks to popular sports drinks.
Why are electrolytes important? They carry electrical impulses to cells which are responsible for muscle contractions. We feel muscle cramping when we are low on electrolytes. Consuming enough salt before a long workout (over 60 minutes) or a workout in the heat, could sustain your cells and keep everything movin and groovin. (salt also makes you thirsty causing you to drink more water).
Secret Weapon: Pickle Juice!
I know, I am pregnant so of course I’d be obsessed with pickles. But, athletic trainers have been touting the benefits of drinking pickle juice before sporting events for years. In fact, in 2000, the Eagles believed that it was the pickle juice they drank that allowed them to beat Dallas in the over 100 degree TX heat. I suppose it is the combo of the salt and vinegar.
There have been a few studies that have concluded that pickle juice does have a preventative effect on muscle cramping but there are also many studies that are inconclusive.
I am not saying the next time you go for a long run, chug a jar of Vlasic. But hey, if you do and you win your next marathon…you’re welcome.