Make sure your post-excercise game is good

Make sure your post-excercise game is goodIMAGE: Getty

It seems to make sense. You’re working out, working up a sweat and afterwards you’re thirsty so you grab your bottle of water. The healthy option, right? Well, apparently that’s not the best thing to do - at all.

You might think you’re being sensible, getting rehydrated and all, but new research shows that drinking plain water could be the quickest way to get a cramp!

A study by researchers at Edith Cowan University in Australia studied 10 men. The team found that if the men drank pure water after exercising they were more susceptible to cramp.

Up until now the actual cause of cramping, which can be seriously painful, has been a bit of a mystery. The experts in this study, however, say that the results shows they could be down to electrolytes in the blood - or a lack of them.

Electrolytes (often mentioned in ads for sports drinks) are minerals - including salt, chloride and potassium - in the blood. They help our bodies maintain water balance, regulate nerve impulses and help our muscles to contract and relax. They can get depleted when you sweat during exercise.

"If you are dehydrated, drinking water can dilute your body's electrolytes, and that can induce muscle cramp," the study's lead researcher, Professor Ken Nosaka explained. In the study, the men given electrolyte drinks after exercise had a 'significantly reduced' likelihood of suffering cramps. 

So there you go. If you tend to suffer from cramping after a run or a workout, get your electrolytes back on track. Healthy options include drinking coconut water or adding a dash of sea salt or lemon to plain water. You can pick up sachets of electrolytes too - or top them up by eating the likes of bananas and kiwis, for potassium.

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