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You’re working in the heat, when your left calf painfully cramps up. After some time, the episode passes. You forget about it until the next day, when it happens again. Only this time, both of your calves cramp up. You know to stay hydrated, and you’ve been drinking plenty of water. What’s going on?
It could be you’re drinking too much water. Working in that heat, you perspire heavily. Drinking water makes sense. It’s the right thing to do. But there’s a downside, and it’s that plain water isn’t going to replace the phosphorus, sodium, and other minerals that you are losing to the perspiration. Mostly, it’s the sodium.
Two common solutions:
Neither of those solutions is advisable, so what should you do? The imbalance is minor, so you need a minor amount of sodium to rebalance. Mix a quarter teaspoon into a quart of water. Don’t slug this right down. Drink a cup or two, and come back in 20 - 30 minutes to drink the rest.
Maybe buy a jar of pickles on the way home.