Many athletes suffer from chronic muscle cramping. It affects people during exercise, rest, or even sleep and can have debilitating and painful effects on an athlete’s performance. In 2004, women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain was unable to complete the Olympic Marathon due to muscle cramping midway through the race. So if even elite athletes suffer from this common problem, how do we fix it?
The first step is to make sure that electrolyte and hydration levels are sufficient. The easiest way to cramp is by dehydrating a muscle or upsetting the electrolyte balance (ex. magnesium, sodium, potassium). The first remedy most people use for cramps is an electrolyte sports drink (Skratch) or potassium rich food (banana). But if the problem persists beyond that, there may be another solution. Acclaimed neuroscientist and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Rod MacKinnon claims to have discovered the key to preventing and curing cramps within the neuromuscular pathway. His research indicates that cramps are due to over excitation of nerves. These excited nerves signal the muscle to contract at a higher than normal rate, resulting in a cramp. This in mind, he and his research partner Bruce Bean developed a new product called Hotshots to prevent the nervous system from over firing. The active ingredients in the drink activate specific nerve channels to prevent neurons from becoming overexcited. MacKinnon claims that while using his product, cramps will never be an issue because they have been stopped at the neural source rather than the muscle.
The results of MacKinnon’s study are significant and the list of athlete testimonials is impressive. Many athletes have come forward as satisfied customers, ranging from casual weekend warriors suffering from cramps during races to five time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander. If you find yourself struggling with muscle cramps, we recommend that you first work to balance your hydration and electrolyte intake as the temperatures continue to rise through the summer. If the problem persists, experimenting with Hotshots could benefit your daily exercise or performance in races.
Photo by Randy Lemoine