How To Avoid Getting Muscle Cramps While On A Long Distance Bike Ride

By Subodh / June 18, 2015

One of the most crucial things that can really mess up during your cycling routine is getting frequent cramps in your legs. This will disable you to continue the cycling and will cause pain and muscle contractions. These cramps are localized on the large muscles of your legs and are different from cramps you experience on your thighs and other parts of your body.

If you are longing to go on a cycling ride for charity or looking for a new way to exercise, then these cramps can really become the worst of the nightmares. You can avoid its occurrence and slow down the pain with a few simple techniques. Read on to know more about the cramps and how to handle those.

 Cycling

What Causes Muscle Cramps while Cycling?

Before fixing the problem, you should always identify the root cause. That is essential in order to come up with an effective solution. Here are a couple of reasons that will give you an idea about why you get cramps.

Dehydration

One of the most common reasons behind getting often cramps is dehydration. Your body requires a good dose of water to convert food into energy. When you limit or cut down the water intake, the muscles get tensed and this, in turn, leads to cramps. The electrolytes in your body tend to diminish fast while you indulge in vigorous exercise such as cycling that you need to replace constantly by supplying fluids.

Bio-Mechanical Inefficiency

Getting the right bike for your body structure is very crucial in terms of leg cramps. If you are experience a pain when you lift your foot from the pedal and place it back, realize that your body is giving you the cues that the bike is not the right one for you.

Neuromuscular Fatigue

Neuromuscular fatigue is one of the most reported triggers for intense leg cramps during prolonged cycling. The stress from the cycling contributes to this condition, which further leads to the localized pain such as the cramps.

How To Prevent Leg Cramps While Cycling For Longer Periods

After determining the reason behind problem, it is now time to shift the focus towards fixing it. There are some simple, but effective tips that could help you solve this problem with ease. While all the suggested ideas may not do away with the pain completely, they would minimize your pain. Below listed are some of the best and tested techniques by cycling experts which are known to provide relief.

Hydrate Regularly

Replenishing the loss of water is very crucial if you want to avoid leg cramps occurrence. Various electrolytes such as potassium and sodium play vital roles in helping the muscles to relax by sending the right communication to the brain. If your body lacks these minerals, it could trigger dehydration, thereby leading to severe leg pain.

Warm Up

Before starting your cycling routine, invest 10 minutes in stretching your whole body effectively. This will relax your muscles and prepare them for higher levels of strain and stress caused during long cycling trips.

Build A Stronger Core

Take time from your busy schedule to strengthen your core. Include strength training in your fitness regimen. You can join a gym or workout at home to strengthen your body to adjust to the high intensity pressure during cycling.

Indulge In Interval Cycling

Indulging in high speed cycling for long durations is a strict no-no as your body does not have the potential to handle the stress. Keep the pace slowly during the initial stages, increasing it slowly as you move forward and then periodically decrease it.

Keep Away From Hill Rides Initially

You do not have to avoid the hills just because you are afraid of the cramps. After developing a decent core strength, you can easily take the hills and create your niche.

Give Yourself A Break In Between

If your ride is going to last for more than an hour, then taking regular breaks is very essential. Cool off for 5 minutes and take a coffee break that will relax your muscles and prevent future cramps.

What Does The Science Say?

According to various researches and studies conducted on the leg cramps during prolonged cycling, a couple of factors have come across that are noteworthy. Lack of adequate nutrition and water in one’s body are two prime factors that could prove to be dangerous, if left untracked. Lack of adequate stretching and exercise before you indulge in long duration cycling has also proven to increase the risk of cramps.

Do not take a step back from cycling just because you the leg cramps scare you. Follow the tips mentioned above and enjoy a cramp-free cycle ride for hours.