Don’t you hate it when you come back from a long day on the hill, put your feet up to rest, and then start cramping? I do, and I’m sure you do too.
There’s a lot of theories and debate over the exact cause of muscle cramps, but the one accepted point is that better conditioning of the muscle and more relaxed muscles seems to lead to less cramps.
So here are some simple tips to reduce your chances of getting the dreaded after riding cramp.
1) Warm up before riding and after riding
This means stretching. I know that barely anyone does this, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Do some light stretching before riding and heavy stretching after riding.
What this does is help your muscles to stay looser and less tight.
2) Work out regularly
This is the key to staying well conditioned. At the least, keep your lower body and core in shape. Better conditioning means your muscles are more used to strain and exhaustion, which means they’re less likely to cramp.
I highly recommend riding a stationary bike. It’s low impact which means it’s nice to your joints and it’s a great overall lower body workout.
3) Balance exercises
Ever noticed how you seem to get cramps more when you do physical things you don’t usually do? This is because your body is working harder and using more muscle and energy to keep you balanced and to engage muscles you don’t usually use.
Simply put, balance exercises train many muscles that you wouldn’t normally use in normal weight training or running. It engages more muscles and it’s a vital part of conditioning your body.
Use tools such as balance balls and balance boards to help train your balance and your stabilizing muscles. Not to mention it’s good for your snowboarding as well!
And yes, I know that the gym sucks, but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Plus it’ll help you get the ladies… (or men)…