Tips to Prevent Leg Cramps While Scuba Diving
Do you know the miserable feeling that you had to end a dive prematurely because you ended up having cramps in your legs? It’s a pretty crappy feeling being in the dive boat while all your buddies are still under water enjoying their dive.
Yet, it does happen more often than you think that a dive finishes due to cramps. By following a few tips you can at least reduce the chances that you might end up being that lonely diver in the boat!
How to Prevent and Deal with Leg Cramps
Your legs are the part of your body working the hardest when you dive. It’s only natural that these are also the muscles and body parts which most likely will suffer a cramp.
However, there are few things you can do to prevent those cramps in your feet or calves. Most importantly, do some exercises, be aware of your body and gear.
Why do cramps happen in the first place?
Cramps can happen anytime. Some people even experience them while they’re sleeping. However, usually you will suffer from them when you use a set of muscles to the point that their oxygen and nutrition supply is not sufficient to keep up with the energy use of the muscle.
But this is not only due to working the muscles too hard. There are a number of other possible reasons for a cramp ranging from overuse to deficiencies in potassium or magnesium to dehydration, fatigued muscles and poor blood circulation.
What can you do to prevent muscle cramps?
The probably biggest reason for muscle cramps is overuse of a set of muscles. If you are usually not exercising at all and then end up with cramps in your legs while scuba diving then the simple remedy is to perform regular exercises specifically for diving during the year. This will strengthen your muscles and stamina and reduce chances of suffering from cramps.
Many cramps are a result of having a cold muscle that suddenly is having to perform its duties. You can help your muscle easily by stretching before you hit the water. It’ll warm the muscle up and instantly help to prevent muscle spasms.
Stretching your calf and leg muscles even on the onset of a cramp can help prevent it. If you feel it starting to build up while you are under water then simple grab the tip of your fin, hold your leg straight and pull the tip towards you. This will stretch your calf and leg muscles and can often help to prevent the cramp! You might still have to take it slow afterwards with regards to your kicks. While you might be able to ease the cramp, you usually cannot avoid it completely.
No, not beer or other alcoholics. Drink lots of water or energy drinks. And at that moment avoid drinking alcohol the evening before you go diving as it will dehydrate you.
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons for a cramp yet it also is one of the easiest to avoid circumstances. Simply drink as much water as you can before you dive and you’ll stay hydrated for the dive.
If you have cramps while diving then it’s many times not only related to the physical exercise at that moment. It can often result from not the most nutritious diet during your day-to-day life that then shows itself by trouble during diving.
A good short-term food before you go diving is to eat a banana or two. They are rich in potassium and are absorbed pretty fast into your body. If you think of bringing them on board of your fishing boat then ask the captain for permission first. There’s a superstition that bananas bring bad luck on a boat…
You reduce the risk of having to cut your dive short due to a leg cramp if you follow these few simple tips and suggestions outlined above. Enjoy your next dive without worrying about suffering from cramps!