Whether you are intensifying your training or participating an event, cramps can occur when you push the limits of your body. And when a leg cramp strikes- it can ruin your ride. Fortunately, through both proper precautions and adequate treatment, most cramps can be calmed in short order.
What Causes Cramps While Biking?
Although no one knows exactly what causes cramps, the general consensus is that they are caused by neuromuscular fatigue. Basically, this refers to the stress that your body experiences due to repetitive behaviors that cause the normally efficient neuromuscular pathways to breakdown. It can be caused or intensified by:
- Hot or humid weather conditions
- An increased duration or intensity of your ride
- Failure to condition properly
- Lack of energy in your body
Fortunately, there are a number of tips and preventative measures you can follow to minimize cramps.
- Remain hydrated and fueled. Perhaps the most important factor is in fueling your body. Especially on hot and humid days, it is critical to drink consistently before and during your ride. Electrolyte drinks work best, and can help those pathways between mind and muscle to work optimally. Do not wait for thirst to strike. Drink regularly and consistently during your ride, and fuel before and during with foods, bars, or gels.
- Condition properly for your ride. We all know that we can’t just hop on the bike and go and expect our best. Peak performance means proper conditioning, and that takes time. Do not push your body outside your limits. Instead, condition your body over the days and weeks leading to your event.
- Strength train, especially during the off-season. As much as we hate the limits that winter weather imposes on riding, it can be a great time to prepare our body for the seasons ahead. In fact, adequate strength training can build your muscles and help them work more efficiently. This means less pain and less cramps.
- Consider proper bike fit. One of the no-brainer methods of attacking cramps at the source is to look at your bike fit. If you are regularly experiencing cramps and especially if you have never had a proper bike fit before, now is the time to look into one.
- Try interval training to improve your performance. The repeated extra taxation on your muscles, followed by brief rest segments, will allow you to grow and strengthen your abilities and lessen the possibility of cramps.
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Our experienced team of bicycle injury attorneys are also avid bikers ourselves, so we understand the challenges of cramps while riding. Do not push too aggressively, fuel your body properly, and face the hills ahead with confidence knowing Kass & Moses are on your side!