06 September 2020



People get cramps for all sorts of reasons, including underlying injury, disease, and medication side effects. The exercise-associated cramps you get during a running race may be influenced by some of these secondary factors. They may also be influenced by your genes: one of the best predictors of cramping is whether you’ve cramped in the past. And despite the paucity of evidence, it’s entirely possible that, in some people, traditional risk factors like dehydration or electrolyte depletion may play a role. So before I get too excited about squats as the new miracle cure, I’d like to see whether a few months of strength training actually reduces cramp risk in a randomized trial.

It’s tricky to get those sorts of studies funded, though—there’s no pharmaceutical money, no sports-drink money. So for now, if you’re struggling with recurring cramps, you’re left with trial and error. It’s worth giving strength training a shot (and not just for its cramp benefits). I’d be open to giving HotShot a try, too. And, hey, whatever the evidence says, I love bananas.

The best way to avoid falling while trail running is to study the trail for hazards well in advance, according to King. “Don’t look at your feet. Scan the trail ten meters ahead of you, and you’ll be able to react to objects in time,” he says. Shortening your stride, particularly while running through technical, rocky terrain, will give you better control and quicken your reaction time.

But if you run, you will fall. When you’re going down, throw your hands out to protect your head and face, but don’t stiffen your elbows. Think of your arms as shocks, absorbing the impact. If you’re moving at high speeds and falling headfirst, tuck your chin into your chest and try to roll over your shoulder to ease the impact. King says the more you practice, the better it will go in the wild. “Go back to what you would do as a kid, and work on your technique in a safe environment, like a grassy field or padded gym floor,” King says.  

I’ve been a mosquito magnet since birth. On group hikes, camping trips, or family backyard gatherings, I wind up with dozens of bug bites when everyone else gets two or three. Last summer I counted 31 mosquito bites on just my legs after a weekend of camping in Acadia National Park. The itching was so bad that I put ice cubes in my leggings in hopes of numbing the bites enough so I could sleep. It didn’t work: they stayed itchy and then I just had wet pants.
But I soon came across a TikTok featuring the Bug Bite Thing, a 0.32-ounce piece of plastic that functions like a syringe but with a suction hole on one end. It supposedly pulls mosquito saliva out of bites to relieve itching, and it’s designed to work on other bites or stings from bees, wasps, ants, and more. The Thing was created by two entrepreneurs, Kelley Higney and her mother, Ellen McAlister, who started selling the product out of their garage before appearing on an episode of Shark Tank in 2019 to get funding. They succeeded, and it’sbeen a bestseller on Amazon ever since.
Abbey Gingras

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