Hot weather can make exercise more challenging than usual. One of the heat-related illnesses that can occur as a result of working out in hot and humid conditions is heat cramps. These painful spasms may appear particularly in the calves, thighs, and arms. In and of themselves, heat cramps aren’t dangerous, but they could be a sign of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Here’s how to recognize and treat heat cramps to prevent the illness from becoming worse.
The Symptoms of Heat Cramps
The combination of hot weather and physical activity sets the stage for heavy sweating. When we sweat we lose fluids and electrolytes, which cause heat cramps. The symptoms include spasms, especially in the legs, flushed and moist skin, and sometimes mild fever.
Heat Cramps Treatment
If you experience heat cramps, the most important thing to do is to stop exercising and get out of the heat. Rest in the shade or an air-conditioned room to prevent further sweating and cool down the body. Don’t resume activity for several hours, says the CDC.
Replenish the fluids and electrolytes you have lost by drinking water or a sports drink. Clear juice like apple juice can also be a good choice. Lastly, you can massage the cramped area gently to relieve the pain.