A new US study suggests that strength training is more important than consuming electrolytes for preventing muscle cramps.
The study goes against the dominant belief that dehydration and the loss of electrolytes are the main causes of muscle cramps, US outdoor adventure magazine Outside reports.
The article focusses on marathon runners but is just as relevant to bushwalkers.
“The problem is that science keeps failing to back this theory up,” science writer Alex Hutchison says. “Starting more than a decade ago, a series of studies has compared crampers with non-crampers at marathons, triathlons, and other endurance races and has failed to find any differences in the athletes’ hydration or electrolyte levels.”
Alex also has a Ph.D in physics from Cambridge University so he knows what he’s talking about.
The new study of 98 marathon runners suggests that cramps occur in muscles fatigued to the point of damage, and a major difference between crampers and non-crampers was the amount of regular lower-body resistance training the athletes did.