Cramps in surfing can happen anytime and without warning. 320 pairs of muscles are in the human body, and all of the voluntary ones are prone to cramping, especially if the water is several degrees down. Muscle cramps are forced muscle contractions that fail to relax, or simply defined, hardening of muscles to the point of cramping. At first, spasms occur and often worsens to cramps when it is sustained and forced. The legs, back, feet and arm muscles are the most susceptible to cramps.
Causes and prevention of cramps in surfing
Many factors are responsible for cramps in surfing; knowing them and how to tackle them is essential if you want to cramp-free surfing sessions.
Sweating is a usual thing when you engage in sports and other energy draining activities. This often causes dehydration and is a common cause of cramping. A convenient way to determine your body’s hydration level is by checking your urine’s color. Colorless urine means you are properly hydrated. However, fluorescent colored urine means you don’t have enough water in your body system. Regular intake of fresh water will help keep your body properly hydrated. Many pros suggest that drinking at least a gallon of water the night before can help reduce chances of muscle cramps.
This is associated with dehydration. As you lose water, you also lose some vital minerals like sodium, potassium, and electrolytes required by your muscle for proper function. Salted biscuits replenish your sodium levels, while apricots, bananas, and melons can improve your potassium levels. Taking sports drinks can also help. Also, inadequate calcium and magnesium in your body can cause muscle cramps.
Exhaustion can dispose you to muscle cramps and injury. You need to know when to stop surfing. When surfing on your cold waters and your suit isn’t enough to fight the cold, your body tries to keep you warm through shivering, and that can result in muscle spasms. The moment you start trembling, stop surfing or get a better suit which will keep the cold out.
Alcohol is a common and natural diuretic that causes dehydration, reducing the body’s water level to cramping point. Alcohol also affects the nervous system, disrupting normal reflex processes. Reducing alcohol intake as much as possible is advisable.
When you experience cramps, take a break and relax. Put pressure on the affected muscle. Stretch and massage the muscle until you get relief. It is advisable to exercise to get your body warmed up a bit before you get on the water. Sometimes the cause of cramping is beyond the above listed. It is important that you consult a physician as it may the sign of a more serious problem.