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Common exercise problems

Many people get cramps in their calves or feel sick after an intense training session. Is there anything nutritionally you can do to reduce these?

Cramps most commonly occur when muscles are tired. Scientists don’t yet fully understand cramps; there is no consensus on whether potassium and magnesium are involved.

What we do know is that sweating heavily during exercise can result in fluid and mineral losses. Try drinking plenty of fluid before, during and after training to minimise the risk of dehydration.

Sports drinks can be a good idea to replace salt (sodium) losses if cramps become a common issue for you. In most cases, salt tablets are not recommended.

To alleviate pain, try stretching and massaging the cramped muscle.

When you exercise at a high density, for a short time your muscles burn fuel without oxygen and produce lactic acid.

If lactic acid builds up in your body, it can make you feel nauseous and even cause vomiting in some people.

The next time you start to feel a little nauseous, slow down the pace for a few minutes to allow the lactic acid to be removed from your muscles.

If you haven’t had anything to drink before energetic exercise, such as a game of soccer, you’ll find that fluid stays in your stomach and ends up sloshing around, making you feel sick.

Drinking one to two glasses of water or sports drink an hour or two before training helps prime your stomach and get it used to emptying fluid.

First published: Oct 2007



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