What causes leg cramps?

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With a lot of talk about LeBron James cramping up in the 4th quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, thought I’d share why this happens.

First off, when you run on treadmill versus running outside; outside whether it’s hot or cold it’s harder on your body because you are dealing with the elements. Playing summer basketball or playing inside during winter, the temperature and conditions of the air have an effect on how the body reacts and recovers.

Every other game played this season was played in an air conditioned building. With the A.C. breaking in the At&t center the temperature on the court soared to over 90 degrees. Since players weren’t acclimated to the heat their bodies responded in different ways.

When playing a sport your body uses electrolytes to fuel your muscles. Your body sweats to cool off trying to keep your body temperature close to it’s normal level. Sweat contains sodium, calcium, and potassium which is essential for your body and muscles to functions.

So any other game James’ body has no problem keeping cool and staying hydrated with the air temperature in the 70s. The hot air temperature of the At&t Center caused him to use up -sweat out – all his electrolytes. When stressed the body uses the “reserves” for the heart and organs so the muscles don’t get any of the fuel they need to function properly – so muscles cramp.

It’s also important to note that because of James’ size and low body fat he needs even more electrolytes and hydration. Having lower body makes any athlete more liking to cramp because once you burn the fuel you’re body goes to the burn fat since most professional athletes are very low on body fat they need to keep hydrating and refuelling.

Think of it like James’ is a Tahoe with the gas tank the size of a corolla, big car that needs to refuel because there gas tank can empty quickly since a big body is using up the fuel at a rapid rate.

There’s no way anyone could have planned for the air conditioning to malfunction. Tony Parker said he was used to playing overseas in similar conditions so his body had been acclimated to it over time.

I have no doubt if the A.C. hadn’t stopped working James’ body would have been able to stay cool enough for him too refuel.

Point is: It’s important be aware of the elements and air conditions and to stay properly hydrated! Always keep your body fueled with the right stuff when playing sports or exercising.

Reference: http://www.slate.com

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