Winter is coming. Not the GOT, super-creepy-behind-the-wall creatures kind of winter. Just winter. There are some things we know for sure about winter. It’s cold, unless you’re hanging in south Florida. It’s the seasonal home to some of our favorite holidays. We can worry less about our swimsuit bod. Winter is also a time of some less-than-certain claims. Groundhogs are great predictors of winter’s demise? Probably not. Most of our body heat escapes through our heads? Not likely. We are more prone to exercise-associated muscle cramps in cold weather? Well, eh, let’s talk about this.
Let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing. A muscle cramp is a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. We talked about types of cramps a few months ago. Specifically, we are concerned with exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMCs), which result from overexcited nerves that control muscle contraction, generally occurring during or up to several hours after strenuous activity.
We cannot say that cold weather doesn’t exacerbate any type of muscle cramp. There are neurological and muscular conditions that may very well worsen in colder weather, leading to more frequent symptoms (i.e., muscle cramps). However, as we’ve defined cramps, especially EAMCs, it seems unlikely that these would increase in frequency or severity in cold weather. In fact, it seems more likely that the opposite would hold true with hot weather worsening cramp-inducing conditions. The only plausible link is that cold weather aggravates factors leading to overexcitement of nerves. By not tailoring your training to account for the temperature differences or in pushing yourself harder due to less humid or hot conditions without adjusting hydration or nutrition, cold weather can be a contributing factor to scenarios we already suspect are linked to cramp onset.
Our summary: there is not sufficient evidence to say that cold is an actual stimulus to EAMCs. But we do know that cramps are manageable. Often, stretching and massaging the cramping muscle(s) can help alleviate the pain. This may take several minutes and require gradual reentry to physical activity.
We also know that HOTSHOT is effective regardless of the weather. HOTSHOT is the only product scientifically proven to both treat and prevent muscle cramps. To ensure maximum effect, follow HOTSHOT’s best practices. Avoid consuming products that may coat the mouth for about 10 minutes before and for several minutes after drinking HOTSHOT—no peanut butter, protein shakes, or gels. For prevention, consume HOTSHOT 15-30 minutes before physical exertion. We can all agree that preventing a muscle cramp is far preferable to treating one. Thankfully, HOTSHOT can help with both.
Whether you’re in frosty Boston (our home town!) or sunny San Diego, muscle cramps are a year-round concern for some runners. HOTSHOT is a year-round solution. You can shop here and pick up your supply of HOTSHOT. Then, reach out and let us know how cramp-free performance changes your results. More training time? A new PR? Starting line to finish with no stops? We want to hear your story. We’re always available on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.