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Preventing cramp ?

Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
edited November 2011 in Health, fitness & training
I got a bad attack of cramp a few times out on the trail today - never happened before. What can I do or take to preferably help prevent it, or help get rid if I do get another dose?
"I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]

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  • There's something in bananas that are good at preventing cramps, from what i've heard. I think cramps come with not having had enough minerals or something.

    That's a scientific answer, that is.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    There can be all sorts of causes. Bananas contain potassium, which can help. Tonic water also contains quinine which can help.

    Personally I've found Elete Water does the job, a couple of drops in my water bottle and I'm fine.

    For you it could be as simple as not drinking enough.
  • It really depends on the individual. I, for example, get cramp much more through lack of salt, regardless of how much water I take on. Generally speaking cramp results from lack of hydration (i.e. water and salt). For long fell runs and very long MTB rides I always take a small packet of salted peanuts for that salty boost with some lovely mountain stream water.

    Experiment with a few things, you'll no doubt find a solution that you like and that works well for you. Drink lots, and eat enough (but not too much) of salt.
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  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
    Thanks folks,

    It may not be banana deficiency as I had one at lunch before doing the second lap, but will keep taking them on rides anyway as they're good biking food. I'll try more water and something with a bit more salt in next time to cover the other bases.

    @Njee - I'd never heard of that before, may give it a shot. I'd have paid good money yesterday to get rid of that sodding cramp!
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
    edited September 2011
    Update: went on a ride last night, ate sensibly beforehand, had plenty of water with a bit otf squash added, had banans, peanuts and energy bars and still got cramp towards the end! Will give these electrolytes a go next.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • 77ric77ric Posts: 601
    njee20 wrote:
    Personally I've found Elete Water does the job, a couple of drops in my water bottle and I'm fine.

    For you it could be as simple as not drinking enough.

    +1

    I have found this to be the exact cause of cramps for me, and the elete water works great, for me too.
    Fancy a brew?
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
    Electrolytes on order - will see how I get on next week.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Stevo 666
    Just drinking water beforehand doesn't mean you are hydrated...

    Try the 1.5l-2l of water a day for a week, see if it helps. See it as more of a detox, it will remove any toxins that can cause cramp, and also ensure you are fully hydrated.

    There is actually no scientific certainty about what actually causes cramp.... there are so many reasons and can very person to person.

    You just have to find something that works for you!
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
    Thanks TNM, will give that a try - next full day out is Cannock next Friday so I have time to see if the water detox makes a difference. I am also trying out a few other things with food and electrolytes like I mentioned above.

    BTW are you a sports nutrition bod or something similar? - you sound like you know your stuff.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    salt. Drink isotonic drinks. Make your own. 100ml squash, pinch of sea salt, 450ml cold water = no cramp
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  • Stevo 666 wrote:
    Thanks TNM, will give that a try - next full day out is Cannock next Friday so I have time to see if the water detox makes a difference. I am also trying out a few other things with food and electrolytes like I mentioned above.

    BTW are you a sports nutrition bod or something similar? - you sound like you know your stuff.

    No worries.
    Yar, I have a degree in Nutrition with Sports Science..... somehow :? :lol:
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
    Yay - something worked as I avoided cramping up completely round Cannock yesterday. Not sure if it was the extra hydration, electrolytes, peanuts, bananas or tonic water (yes, I had a bit of all of those before and/or during the ride :) )

    Thanks all for the tips.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • I have had this issue before and after a trip to a sports doctor I was informed my problems were due to poor flexibility. I was given some stretching to do and now I have not suffered from cramp from for months.
  • Jon8aJon8a Posts: 235
    The salt thing is a bit of a myth. Generally cramp is caused by a problem with the muscle that is cramping.

    Flexibility could be a cause but most likely is lack of fitness/weakness. It's not to say that you are unfit if you get cramp because even pros get it. It just means you are working harder than your body is conditioned to.

    http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2011/06/ ... ience-say/

    the electrolyte drinks have benefits in terms of hydration but probably nothing to help cramping (placebo effect aside).
  • Jon8a wrote:
    The salt thing is a bit of a myth. Generally cramp is caused by a problem with the muscle that is cramping.

    Flexibility could be a cause but most likely is lack of fitness/weakness. It's not to say that you are unfit if you get cramp because even pros get it. It just means you are working harder than your body is conditioned to.

    http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2011/06/ ... ience-say/

    the electrolyte drinks have benefits in terms of hydration but probably nothing to help cramping (placebo effect aside).

    Generally... yes. :roll:

    Btw, that article lists 8 journals, 3 of which are by the same author and another 2 are by another author... that really isn't a lot. I referenced over 90 journals for a dissertation on sports drinks...

    In fact, hyponatremia (over hydration of plain water) is also said to lead to cramp due to the lack of salts.

    Depending on what search terms you put into google/scholar etc etc can bring back whatever you want to hear.... especially with cramp.

    As said, there are MANY reasons for cramp, and you have to find something that works for you.
  • angry_birdangry_bird Posts: 3,785
    Cramps a tricky one, got to find something that works for you. Like TNM says there are many reasons for cramp, having said that keeping hydrated can't hurt. Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium to an extent, glucose and water are all important in exercise because you need to make sure that the ions needed for muscle to contract and then relax are present and can be transported in and out of the cells. They also are important in nervous transmission which has been proposed as one of the factors in muscle cramps too.

    Wouldn't personally drink tonic water as a method of avoiding cramps though, it contains quinine which can alter heart rhythms. It block sodium channels and affect the excitability of the atrial and ventricular regions of the heart, where a fast inward current of sodium is important for the propagation of the cardiac action potential. Not something I'd peronally be wanting to happen during exercise.
  • bragawdbragawd Posts: 160
    I had a ride in penmachno i found the trails pretty tough myself....
    and had my right quadricep locking up on me i put it down to 2 things.

    1.running out of drink in my camlebak 80% into the ride.
    not long after running out of energy drink in my hydration system... i started locking up.
    2. fatigue
  • i think i have found a really good way to combat cramp as i was reading a artical in a fitness professional mag and they quoted a study done in america.

    Bassically swimmers took a "teaspoon" of sodium bicarb (not the one you use to make cakes bigger....) with 250ml of water.

    They took this 1 hour before doing their workouts.

    They then found on avg each swimmer maintained a higher performance for longer for around 10-30%

    I have tried this a couple of times with running and found it does seem to work, during the middle phase of a hard tempo run i can" taste it" in my mouth and around lips, during this time i dont have as much Latic/heay legs as i would useally do without taking it.

    I have been told by random people that it i quote" reduces the stomach" lining but they can never back this up so unsure this is true or just taking the mick.

    either way it does seem to work very well, and looking to get further information on this.

    Here some of the studies done, there are a lot which is good.
    http://www.sportsci.org/traintech/buffer/lrm.htm
    http://doctoroffitness.com/articles/spo ... carb.shtml
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  • http://www.eletewater.co.uk/
    http://www.eletewater.co.uk/

    This works.
    Add more salt to your diet too.
    I munch on small salt packs from McD's on longer rides.
    But the Elete drops simply work.
    I also take gels with me on rides and add electrolytes in powder form into your bladder /drinks - make it a weak solution though!
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,862
    Been using the 'High 5' electrolyte tablets for a while and drinking plenty on the trails - I've had no cramp problems since I started doing that. Could also be because I'm getting fitter with all this MTB'ing I'm doing :)
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • Northern Monkey.

    Can you qualify what you mean by
    water ..... it will remove any toxins that can cause cramp,
    .
    What toxins cause cramps that we need to purge in our systems?

    I think the overall majority have fond the electrolytes, especially in powder form in your water, gels, Elete, Nuun, http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Brands.aspx?BrandID=679 and others all work.

    I know that if I fail to add salt to my cooking before endurance events or races I fail with cramp within 2.5hrs out on the trail.
    Others swear by bananas. Milk too seems popular - so a banana milkshake looks good as cycling can deplete ones calcium quite badly from what I've read.
    Quinine you can get on perscription and many old folks take it to prevent night cramps. Or drink tonic water. I was unaware of the other medical info given out about it here though.

    Try one at a time in isolation? Or all together. Either way, it's the solution for most it seems.
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