We've all seen it... The athlete clutching the back of their leg while limping along the race course and looking like they're about to shed a tear. We all also know what happens, but to explain it to you, they experience an involuntary contraction of their muscle, leading to the dreaded muscle cramp. Muscle cramps during exercise can be very frustrating, unpredictable and painful to deal with. They are very common within the sports community and surprise people both during activity and during rest and recovery. There are several potential factors that can contribute to a muscle cramp, but it is important to note that those who have had cramps before are more likely to have them again. Identifying both the strategies and the root cause of an athlete's cramps can be a great relief and offer an advantage to those who train and compete regularly.
It is generally accepted that dehydration (and more specifically loss of electrolytes) is a big contributor to cramps and that if you stay hydrated, you can actually prevent them. It's true that sweating during intense, prolonged exercise can lead to dehydration and loss of electrolytes if an athlete doesn't replenish them adequately. There is also supporting evidence that shows dehydration and electrolyte loss are directly linked to muscle cramps.
Cramps have been shown to occur when there is a 2% loss of body mass due to dehydration, while the incidence of cramps doubles when dehydration reaches 3%. Sodium losses have been shown to be greater in athletes prone to cramping than in those who had no history of cramping.
muscle cramps, and cramp-prone athletes lose more electrolytes (have higher sweat sodium concentrations) in sweat and have electrolyte levels that tend to decrease compared to controls.
Preventing a greater electrolyte deﬁcit (by hydrating with electrolytes versus water alone) throughout a workout and choosing the right fluid are important for preventing or relieving cramps. It has been shown that those who are more prone to cramping tend to drink water rather than an electrolyte sports drink. This is crucial when dehydration has already occurred, as an electrolyte drink can help maintain your electrolyte levels. Drinking only water may result in a lower serum electrolyte concentration and increased susceptibility to cramping after dehydration, unlike someone who drinks an electrolyte sports drink and therefore replenishes electrolytes. When a small amount of dehydration is present (loss of 1% of body mass), drinking an electrolyte drink has also been shown to delay the onset of a muscle cramp by more than double. Those who experience a cramp sweat more than those who don't, showing how consuming electrolytes and fluids can effectively delay the onset of a cramp.
Choosing the right fluid is important when it comes to preventing or relieving cramps. This is why the Be One cuff allows a personalized approach by informing you in real time about your fluid and electrolyte status, thus guiding you for optimal hydration. Thanks to its advanced sensors, the Be One connected armband
helps maintain perfect balance, preventing cramps and allowing you to perform at your best.