How to Prevent Muscle Cramps While Cycling
Muscle cramps while cycling are quite common, and they cause certain discomforts and pains. These inconveniences not only affect your muscles but also your mind as it forces you to stop your activity. Thus, learn how to prevent cramps from happening as much as possible.
Why we get muscle cramps while cycling
Here are some of the most commons causes of muscle cramps while cycling. It’s important to identify what’s causing them in order to prevent them.
Lack of minerals in the body
This might be the most common cause of muscle cramps while cycling. A decrease in electrolytes in the body can make the muscle spasm. However, a well-balanced diet can help you prevent this.
When we sweat we lose minerals in perspiration, thus accelerating the process of dehydration. This is even more severe for cyclists in high temperatures. Therefore, drinking enough water is also fundamental to avoiding muscle cramps while cycling.
Cycling is a high-intensity sport, and as such, it demands a lot from the athletes who practice it. This type of exercise demands a lot from the leg muscles. Thus, it’s impossible to guarantee that you’ll never get muscle cramps while cycling.
Low blood circulation causes the muscles to lose oxygen and in turn that causes muscle cramps. This situation happens in just a few seconds and it’s difficult to reverse its effects. Letting the muscles rest is possibly the best solution for this problem.
Stress and exhaustion
Cyclists usually suffer from anxiety before a race and have to withstand difficult physical preparation. Therefore, sleeping is a very important factor for the body to recover. Lack of sleep or bad quality of sleep doesn’t allow the muscles to rest properly.
Some cyclist may not pay much attention to their posture which can cause muscle cramps while cycling. And so, cycling in the wrong posture can cause tension in the legs which increases the risk of getting cramps.
What to do if you get muscle cramps while cycling?
The first reaction to this eventuality is to shake the leg and the specific muscle that is cramping. However, this requires you to stop cycling, or in case it’s possible to stop, to slow down. In case you choose to slow down, keep in mind that prolonged stress to the cramped muscle may result in serious injuries.
Another option may also be to massage the muscle group in order to reactivate the blood flow. Then, try to stretch those muscles to relax this area of the body and improve elasticity. Lastly, make sure you rest the muscles for a few hours, and temporarily refrain from continuing with this exercise.
Tips to avoid muscle cramps
Although it’s not possible to know when you’re about to get a cramp, you can reduce the risk of getting them. And so, here are some tips to reduce the probability of getting muscle cramps while cycling. They are simple and easy to follow.
- Balanced diet: when your body has the right nutrients, it will perform much better physically. Foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and sodium are key elements to avoid cramps.
- Nuts and fish are allies in this battle. The vitamins that these foods have are the key to reduce the risk of getting muscle cramps.
- Drinking plenty of water: maintaining your body’s hydration is especially important. However, for professional cyclists, specialists recommend complementing water with isotonic drinks of high mineral content.
- Proper warm-up routine before starting is key to avoiding muscle cramps while cycling. A 10-minute warm-up is enough to activate the muscles before the activity.
- Increase the potassium in your diet. Medical studies confirm that a lack of magnesium in the body is the first cause of muscle cramps. Thus, doctors recommend taking magnesium supplements since they help the body absorb vitamins and other minerals.
Muscle cramps while cycling isn’t only uncomfortable, but also dangerous. Therefore, it’s important to know how to avoid them and treat them if you get them. Follow these easy tips and you will reduce the risk of getting an injury.