From Oxford, Maine, USA:
My 15-year-old son plays high school football. After the last two games, he has had severe cramping in his legs, thighs, groin, arms and calves. Can you please tell me what he should be doing before, or during the game, to control these severe cramps? He does drink Gatorade and water during the game. He does keep his pump on during the game, also.
One of the theories of cramping is thought to be the result of dehydration and/or loss of electrolytes. Drinking water for activities under one hour should be enough to keep individuals hydrated and free of cramps. Activities lasting longer than one to one and a half hours will need electrolyte (i.e., potassium, calcium) replacement that sports drinks will offer. Extremely hot/humid days require more electrolyte replacement.
Do not use thirst as a gauge for dehydration. Monitoring urine color is a good indicator. A "lemonade" color is good and an "apple juice" color is bad.
So, drinking about 16 ounces one to two hours prior to activity, about 8 ounces 30 minutes prior, and 4 to 6 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during activity is a good rule of thumb to keep athletes hydrated and potentially cramp fee.
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:12
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