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2012 / NO.4
2012 / NO.4
Beware of Muscle Cramps While Swimming in Winter

Nowadays, there are an increasing number of people who like to swim in winter because of its effectiveness in improving and enhancing cardiopulmonary function as well as strengthening immunity. However, the temperature difference between water and human body could easily lead to muscle cramps. For example, cramps in the calf muscles occur more often for those with frequent intense exercise.

To guard against cramps while swimming, the following ways might be the preventing options. I). Diet. Have some sweets 1-2 hours before swimming to increase calories and help muscles replenish energy. Also abosorb more sodium, calcium and phosphorus as those minerals play a vital role in enhancing the excitability of nerves and muscles. II). Do enough warm-up exercises prior to swimming and properly massage the areas which are prone to cramps. III). Take a cold shower or tap the body or limbs with cold water before swimming so that the body will adapt easily to low temperature. IV). Swimming time should not be too long and swimming is not suggested under fatigue and hunger. V). Always exercise to enhance the adaptability of the body so as to effectively prevent the occurrence of muscle cramps while swimming. VI). If possible, while swimming, constantly practice the self-directed ways of first aid for muscle cramps. VII). Do not swim alone. To ensure someone is always there to help.    

If a muscle cramp occurs accidentally during swimming, do not be panic as it will cause chocking on water and intensify the cramp. Stay calm and tell the partner so that he/she can help. Take a deep breath and put forth all the strength to stretch the cramping muscle to the opposite direction. For instance, if the back of the lower leg suffers from a muscle cramp, grab the tiptoe with a hand using a sustained stretch to pull it up towards your own direction. Try a few times if the cramp still persists. Try to relax the cramping muscle and let it recover. Do not swim after the muscle cramp subsides, as it might reoccur easily. You should get out of the swimming pool immediately to dry off, take a rest and keep warm. Massage properly the cramping area to further ease the muscle.