What causes muscle cramps?
The good news first: Usually, muscle cramps are not a sign of serious illness. Nevertheless, if you have excessively frequent or painful cramps, you should consult a doctor. So where do they come from then?
Scientists assume that the trigger for muscle cramps is an imbalance between inhibitory and activating nerve signals. The most common causes include over-exertion, mineral deficiencies, dehydration or a combination of these factors.
The most important tips for prevention
In order to optimally prevent muscle cramps, one should – as is often the case – concentrate on counteracting the causes. Find out now how this is possible!
Tip 1: Don’t overwork!
If you train too much and go beyond the point of exhaustion too quickly, you are heading towards muscle cramps. When overworked, cramps are inevitable, because the muscles tire and the nerves become a lot more sensitive.
Therefore: Don’t over-exert yourself! Slowly train yourself to your new peak performance level, take beaks but don’t let too much time pass between tours.
Tip 2: A balanced diet
Diet also has an impact on your susceptibility to cramps – for a reason similar to a lack of fluid intake. If the muscles are insufficiently supplied with nutrients, cramps can occur. Anyone who eats a varied diet with fresh foods will be one step ahead.
Tip: Nuts, whole grains and dark chocolate contain a lot of magnesium. There is potassium in tomatoes, peppers, spinach and salmon. And dairy products, amaranth or kale are real calcium-wonders. Find our granola bar recipe for cyclists here.
Tip 3: Drink enough
Those who drink too little or sweat too much lose both fluids and electrolytes. Both can lead to cramps.
Magnesium and calcium ensure proper muscle contraction. Potassium and sodium regulate water balance.
Without sufficient fluids, the body cannot optimally transport the nutrients to the muscle and nerve cells. So: Be sure to drink enough – preferably mineral water or an electrolyte drink.
Tip 4: Warm up
Warm up exercises get the body going. You are not only doing something good for your circulation. The muscles are also better supplied with blood and minerals (yes, those again!), as well as oxygen. So it’s definitely worth investing a little time in a warm up. For example, marching in place for a few minutes.
Tip 5: Stretch regularly
Many people work in an office and often sit in front of the computer for countless hours. As a result, certain muscles shorten, bad posture creeps in and blood circulation in the legs is not optimal. The result: tight muscles. To prevent this, you should stretch regularly. A pleasant side effect: Gentle stretching also increases general well-being.
And if it happens?
Careful stretching, warmth (if possible) and lightly massaging the muscle lengthways helps. A few sips of an electrolyte drink can also help quickly.
The next tour is guaranteed to be a success!
With these tips from Eurobike, nothing stands in the way of your next relaxed or demanding tour. Still don’t know where to go? How about one of Eurobike’s sporty cycle tours?