This question came to me whilst I was sat on the couch of my waiting room talking to a 94 years old client of mine asking my advice about buying “creams and oils” to rub on his legs:
“Paul… I’ve noticed my leg muscles have been achy a lot more recently. Much more so that usual. I’ve felt muscle cramps in my calf muscles and it seems to be worse the more swimming that I do. Can you suggest any creams or oils or anything like that I could rub on before I get into the pool, to make things easier?”
– Syd. 94 years of age. From Grayfields area of Hartlepool.
This question got a long reply from me but here it is in a nut shell.
Creams and oils are not always needed for things like everyday aches and pains in muscles and joints. It’s too easy to head to a pharmacy and ask for a “miracle” cure that you can just rub on and hope that it rubs them away (the aches and pains).
The goal I have for ALL my clients is to always try and offer them a “natural” solution to their problems. And I managed to find one for Syd. After he asked, I dug a little deeper with my questioning and I established that his muscle aches were coming on BECAUSE OF the “cramp” he was experiencing.
And I worked out that Syd had been spending even more time in the swimming pool recently than he normally does. He’d been feeling extra healthy lately and that plus the light mornings means that he’d spent more time in the pool. And this “feeling” of having more activity in us, is not uncommon at this time of the year. More sunlight plus more usually means more activity and that increases energy.
But spending more time in the swimming pool can have it’s downside… and that’s with the misconception that you don’t sweat when you’re swimming (because you do). And because you can “feel” water all around your body and even close to your mouth, it’s easy to think that you’re not thirsty, meaning you think you’re hydrated.
But reality is that you’re loosing lots of water from the moment you step into a pool. Ever wondered why you always feel like you need to go rush to the toilet within just a few minute of getting into the bath or a pool? Its no coincidence that it happens every time and it’s a reaction that causes your body to want to loose water.
And so when you’re in the swimming pool for any significant length of time, water loss is happening on a much bigger scale. And the problem is that most people don’t realise it until it’s too late. The trick with staying hydrated is to consume water BEFORE you feel dehydrated. And not to consume water because you are.
Hint: The number one sign of being dehydrated is… “muscle cramps”. And because muscle cramps painful, that leads to sore and achy muscles – the kind that Syd was suffering from. And to solve Syd’s problem it was simply a case of him being shown that he needed to drink more water – before, during and after his swimming sessions.
So here’s my tip for you today: You don’t always need to rush off to a pharmacy and buy a “magic cure” to rub on muscles and joints. There is NEARLY AWLAYS a natural solution out there waiting for you. Second… if you are experiencing muscle cramps, tension and aches, anywhere on your body, try increasing the amount of water that you drink. Although isn’t a guaranteed fix, it’s proven to help ease all of them and a good place to start.
Specialist Physio Clinics : Darlington – Durham – Guisborough – Hartlepool
Tel: 01429 866771
Article Published in Paul’s weekly health and fitness column “Feeling Great” – in the Hartlepool Mail, July 2014.