How to treat leg cramps caused by cycling
Cycling is a low-impact sports that is gentle on the joints of the knee, but an individual can end up injured and experience pain while cycling. There are many injuries that can happen due to overuse or working too hard in a training plan. Take note that a common problem among cyclists are leg cramps. By enrolling in a first aid course, you can readily manage this condition.
Leg cramps can occur while cycling and there is dull pain or an intense piercing pain that forces a person to stop pedaling. Muscles in the calf or foot start to spasm and oftentimes there is an electric shock sensation when the body becomes fatigued due to exertion and a reflex that excites the muscles. A leg cramp is an intense, involuntary contraction of the muscle that happens during or after exercise.
Causes of leg cramps
Cramping happens when pushing the body to its limit such as racers or long distance cyclists. They are susceptible to leg cramps when they are cycling at full strength or at the end of a long ride. Sprinting and muscle fatigue with intense heat can also trigger a cramp. The body should maintain the electrolyte balance during an activity and when he/she sweats, the body will lose minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and salt. This will cause an imbalance since the minerals functions in regulating muscle contraction and the providing chemical energy to the cells.
Treatment of leg cramps
- When an individual is suffering from leg cramps, he/she must stop riding a bicycle and stretch and massage as much as possible.
- Minimize the intensity of the ride and perform a regular stretching routine in order to keep the muscles loose and flexible
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes.
- Drink at least six to eight cups of water in order to keep the muscles flexible and hydrated. Eat foods high in water content such as watermelon and leafy green vegetables. This will help prevent dehydration from developing.
- Increase the intake of calcium and potassium in order to help in the processing of fluids in the body. For calcium, eat low fat yogurt, fat-free milk, kale, Bok choi, broccoli and foods rich in potassium such as bananas, meat, poultry, avocados and fish. It is also recommended to take calcium supplement before going to bed.
- Before going to bed, perform light exercises in order to stimulate circulation in the legs.
- Wear shoes with sufficient arch and ankle support in order to keep proper alignment of the body during the day.
Prevention of leg cramps
Legs cramps can be prevented by staying hydrated and maintain a diet with proper nutrition while cycling in order to help prevent the occurrence of leg cramps. Replace lost electrolytes by adding salt or electrolyte supplements to the water. Eat carbohydrates while cycling in order to provide fuel for the muscles and minimize tiredness. Remember that a tired muscle contracts more easily and prone to cramping.