Unknown to many, swim cramps can be rather common and extremely painful without doing proper dry land warm ups. We are all aware that warm ups are essential before partaking in any form of exercise. However, many of us do not commit fully to warm ups. Some even take it for granted and totally ignore it. This is also the reason why swim cramps can occur.
Having a poor diet and being dehydrated are two key factors that can contribute to swim cramps. One should always hydrate themselves by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially before and after a swim session. Stretching, nutrition, hydration and better technique seem to be the things to keep a close out on to assist in reducing the chances of cramp. The positioning of your legs also play a role in causing swim cramps. Many find it challenging to relax while their legs are in a streamlined position with the ankle flexed and toes pointing to the wall. Although this is probably the best position to perform a front crawl kick, a lot of effort is needed to control and hold the foot in position. The effort will be mainly concentrated in the arch of the foot and the calf. These are usually the two areas where swim cramps strike.
In order to prevent such cramps from occurring, you can follow a set of guidelines before your swim. Firstly, ensure that proper warm ups are done. This includes ankle circling and rolling, back and forth from your toes to heels, slowly waking up the lower leg area. If your calf muscles are feeling tight or if you are already experiencing a cramp, counter the problem with the Achilles stretch. This stretch can be accomplished by standing on the pool steps on the balls of the feet and gently lower the heels below the level of the toes. This is rather useful as it can also prevent further cramps from occurring. However, never over stretch and always know your muscle limits.
Once you experience a cramp halfway through your swim, it would be wise to get out of the pool and stretch it out or walk it off. This is up to an individual on what works best for him or her. However, if the cramps were to occur again then it would be advisable to bring your session to an end. It is definitely not worth the risk. For more information, check out the full article here.
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