How Can You Prevent Muscle Cramps?
A dehydrated muscle is very prone to muscle cramps. In addition to making the muscle much more susceptible to cramping, dehydration has a huge effect on performance, and nearly every other function in the body. Most athletes do not drink nearly enough water.
Most people in general do not drink nearly enough water. Many athletes who think they drink enough water do not drink enough water. Drink more water!
The most common method for determining if you are dehydrated is by using the color of urine. As a general rule, the darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are. Urine should be clear, or a light yellow most of the time.
Another method to track dehydration is to keep close track of your body weight. If you get on the scale before a workout to see that your bodyweight has dropped 3-5 lbs or so over the past few days, this is most likely due to dehydration. A small portion of it could be from fat/muscle loss, but this will be a very, very small amount. Tissues do not get burned nearly that fast.
Dehydration will cause the body/muscle tissues to overheat much more rapidly. This dehydration/overheating combination is another factor in causing muscle cramps. When active in high temperatures, make sure to stay hydrated.
A NOTE ON WATER 'INTOXICATION'
On more than one occasion when I have suggested to someone that they drink a lot more water, I have received a response somewhere along the lines of, "I try not to drink too much water, because I heard that you can get water intoxication."
Water "intoxication" happens when electrolyte levels, primarily sodium, are dangerously low in the body. Drinking a lot of water will flush a certain amount of substances, including electrolytes, out of the body via urine.
If these mineral are not replaced, problems occur. However, this is very rare, and if one is paying proper attention to getting sufficient electrolyte minerals, the chances of it happening are basically none. Drink plenty of water!
Sodium and the other electrolytes are essential for retaining water in the bodily tissues, including muscle. If you are deficient in these minerals, you may remain dehydrated & at risk for cramps, no matter how much water you drink.