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Drinking water after exercise may make cramps more painful

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It is generally believed that drinking water immediately after exercise can prevent cramps. However, researchers at Edith Cowen University in Australia refuted this view through experiments. They believe that drinking regular drinking water immediately after exercise can make cramps more painful, and only drinking electrolyte drinks (sports drinks) can alleviate cramps.

Researchers gave 10 exhausted male participants different drinks and then tested how much pain their legs could endure by imitating cramps with electric shocks. The participants pedaled in a hot room until sweating reached 2% of their body weight. After exercise, half drank water and the other half drank sports drinks containing electrolytes. A week later, two groups of participants were tested. The results showed that drinking water immediately after exercise was more likely to cause muscle spasm, while drinking electrolyte beverages significantly alleviated the pain caused by some cramps. Researchers say electrolytes are minerals in the blood, including salt, potassium, bicarbonate and chloride. When people sweat, these minerals are consumed in large quantities. Therefore, electrolyte drinks can relieve pain by supplementing salt and minerals.

In addition, the researchers conducted electrical currents to the calf muscles to examine each volunteer's susceptibility to cramps. The results showed that the fewer currents needed to trigger muscle spasms, the more susceptible to cramps, and the stronger the response of people who drank water to weak currents.