The same leg muscles that power your movements while biking and can feel sore the day after your ride. If you don't usually cycle for exercise or just completed a particular challenging ride, the exertion can contribute to delayed onset muscle soreness. Stiffness and aches in your muscles likely will go away within 48 to 96 hours, says the University of New Mexico, but there are things you can do to ease aches and pains.
If you're just starting to use biking for exercise or are planning to implement any other new exercises into your fitness routine, see your doctor for health clearance first. A little muscle soreness after a workout is normal, but acute pain can be a sign of something other than delayed onset muscle soreness. See your doctor if you feel sharp pain or pain that doesn't go away after you try to treat it.
Always warm up before you cycle, and spend 10 minutes stretching afterward to loosen the muscles and cool down your body.
Ice your sore leg muscles for 15 to 20 minutes three times daily during the first three days after your bike ride. Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables on your legs' sore spots.
Elevate your legs while icing the muscles and let them rest.
Drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water each day after your ride to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Include a sports drink in your beverages to counteract electrolyte imbalance because of a lack of fluids while cycling.
Massage your leg muscles to relieve stiffness. Stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves gently to loosen the muscles.
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, if needed, to relieve achy muscles.
Take a walk, go for a swim, enjoy a leisurely bike ride or engage in some other aerobic activity. This will increase your blood flow and send oxygen and other nutrients to the sore muscles.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.