TeamCBC Cycling Tip – How to Stop Leg Cramps When Cycling

Last weekend the combination of heat and humidity took its toll. Several people suffered from muscle cramps, especially after the ride. Here are a few tips to help reduce your chances of cramping:

Hydration:
You should drink 1-2 bottles per hour depending on the heat and your effort. One bottle should have water and the other should contain electrolytes.

Strength, conditioning, and a proper bike fit:
You should stretch properly both before and during the ride. Off-the-bike training to build core strength and flexibility can also help. Finally, a proper bike fit will ensure your muscles are working at their optimal range.

Foods that can help combat cramp:
Nutrition is arguably your biggest ally in the war against cramps. Providing your muscles with sufficient nourishment – and the right kind of nourishment – will enable them to work better, faster, and longer, helping to keep the dreaded cramp at bay. Here are some food types you should focus on as a cyclist:

  1. Potassium: It is essential – along with sodium – for regulating the electrical signals that can cause your muscles to seize up. Get it from…bananas, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, yogurt, beans, dates, spinach, and broccoli.
  2. Sodium: When your body sweats to stop it from overheating, you excrete not just moisture but salt. Salt (or the sodium in salt) is needed to regulate those cramp-causing mixed signals. Get it from…beets, celery, carrots, spinach, and chard.
  3. Calcium: As cycling is a non-impact, endurance exercise that causes you to sweat a lot, you’ll also need to get a lot of this particular mineral into your diet to help maintain healthy bone density, especially as you get older. Get it from…natural yogurt (unsweetened Greek varieties are best), sardines, turnips, dark green leafy vegetables, low-fat cheeses, and milk.
  4. Carb-rich foods: Because road cycling is an endurance sport, depletion of your body’s glycogen (its energy stores) is an inevitable consequence. And as glycogen is mostly stored in your muscles, it figures that the lower those levels are, the more likely you are to suffer cramps. Get it from potatoes, legumes, brown rice, bananas, and pasta.
  5. Not mentioned in this article, but can relieve a cramp quickly is pickle juice. Also, yellow mustard has been known to help stop a cramp.
Here is an article that explains it in more detail:

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/…/how-to-stop-leg-cramp-when…

Stay Safe!
Rick Bunnell
President, TeamCBC

President

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