Does Cold-Weather Running Cause Muscle Cramps?

Does Cold-Weather Running Cause Muscle Cramps?

If you’re a runner who lives in a place where winter is real—snow, ice, freezing temperatures—then you have two choices: Spend the cold season going nowhere on a treadmill or brave the cold and get your miles in no matter what. Winter warriors know that training outdoors in the single digits comes with a price. No matter how many hats, gloves and layers of fleece you apply, you’re still going to feel that breath-taking sting in your lungs and that leaden feeling in your legs. But here’s the big question:


Does running in extreme cold lead to muscle cramps?

The short answer is not necessarily. Of course, running in any conditions without proper preparation can cause muscle cramps. Cold weather can be conducive to cramping because it may aggravate factors that overexcite your nerves. And when your nerves get overexcited, it can lead to an involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. That, folks, is a classic cramp.

Fear not, my frostbitten friends. There are ways you can lessen your chance of muscle cramps while you’re searching for that ultra-runner’s high in ultra-low temperatures.

  1. Stretch before and after your run—This seems pretty obvious, but it’s surprising how many runners don’t get an adequate stretch in along with their winter workout. Stretching gets your heart rate up and increases blood flow to your muscles. Loose and limber muscles are less likely to cramp even on the cruelest winter run.
  2. Massage those big leg muscles—Give those quads, hammies and calves a good rubdown after you run. Or better yet invest in a massage gun and blast away those aches and pains.
  3. Stay hydrated—Did you know that you’re just as likely to get dehydrated in cold weather as you are in warm and humid temperatures? Most people don’t think about hydrating in the winter because they don’t get as thirsty as they do when it’s hot. But you need to drink as much water as you do before, during and after a summer run. Avoid coffee, tea and other hot drinks as well. They may warm your heart, but they can actually make you lose water when you drink them.
  4. Eat for the cold! Without an adequate supply of nutrients, your body can’t relax your muscles quickly and efficiently. Try avocados, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli or beans for a sufficient amount of things like magnesium, potassium, healthy fats, protein etc..
  5. Stock up on HOTSHOT for Muscle Cramps—HOTSHOT is the only product scientifically proven to both treat and prevent muscle cramps. Drink HOTSHOT 15-30 minutes before your run. The unique formula targets the nerves that trigger those involuntary muscle spasms. With HOTSHOT in your corner, you can look Jack Frost in the face and laugh as you leave him in the dust.

Muscle cramps are an issue winter, spring, summer and fall. But HOTSHOT is your 24/7/365 solution. Click here to order HOTSHOT for yourself and make this and every season cramp-free.

Back to blog