Heat cramps are often the result of strenuous paddling over long periods of time, particularly in hot weather. Although heat exhaustion can cause muscle cramps, heat cramps typically are caused by a lack of salt or an electrolyte imbalance.
Preventing Heat Cramps
- Drink fluids containing electrolytes, especially sodium.
- Take frequent breaks to interrupt periods of strenuous paddling.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Heat Cramps
- Cramps in the muscles used in strenuous paddling, such as arms, shoulders, abdomen, calves, and thighs
- Painful, brief, and involuntary muscle spasms
- Spasms that come and go intermittently, and may even be delayed several hours
Treating Heat Cramps
- Rest in a cool place.
- Drink a saltwater solution or a commercially available sports beverage that contains electrolytes.
- Stretch and gently massage the muscles.