Many people ride for different reasons. Some ride for pleasure. Others get on their bike at regular times to stay fit or to lose weight. Others, love the sense of accomplishment that winning a race gives. Many others ride a bicycle to go from one place to another either to save cost from commuting or to support a cause (going green). Whatever your reason for riding your bike, there is one thing that you should not forget — bring one of the best water bottles for cycling so you can keep your favorite beverage with you and stay hydrated while on the move.
Why is hydration crucial?
You are quite aware of the importance of water not only to health but to survival. Even the smallest levels of dehydration can affect your overall performance, as well. It can impact how your body will respond to any intermittent temperature changes while en route. As a result, your perception of effort as well as the actual performance level may deteriorate.
One of the biggest mistakes that even experienced endurance athletes make is to fail to prepare. Note that the body requires about an hour or so to distribute any fluid that it has taken in for use by the other parts of the body. If you fail to properly hydrate before stepping on your bike, you are already doomed to experiencing the unnecessary negative effects of unhealthy hydration practice.
Remember that as you become more dehydrated, your blood volume decreases. This happens because 55% of the total blood volume is water (92% of the liquid component of your blood or the plasma is water). To allow your body to increase its work output, it will be forced to work harder. That means your heart rate will increase and your temperature will increase. This condition will limit your capacity to increase your effort level. However, it increases your rate of perceived exertion. As a result, you may lose concentration, skill, as well as accuracy in what you are doing. This can only be corrected if you manage your hydration requirement effectively, before, during, and even after you go for a ride.
Consider other hydration alternatives
The direct answer to this question is “NO.” As you sweat, your body loses more than just water. In fact, you also lose essential elements called electrolytes. These electrolytes are crucial in creating balance in the fluids inside your body.
Fortunately, there are other hydration alternatives that you can have even while on the move. Bring with you a bottle or two of your favorite sports drink to help you replenish any lost fluids and electrolytes while cycling. Taking a bite of healthy snack bars, gels, and other bite-sized snack can also help you in this aspect. Just don’t let 15-20 minutes on the go without taking a sip or hydrating or else your cells, your output, and even your health will suffer in the end.
At this point, it is important to note that there are two major factors that affect how fluid is absorbed in your body. First, is the rate at which the fluid drains or is released from the stomach. Second, is the rate of absorption in the intestine. This is affected by the concentration of electrolytes such as sodium and carbohydrates present in the drink.
Prolonged heavy sweating could result to a significant loss of minerals in the body, particularly sodium. If you just drink water, you can weaken the concentration of the remaining electrolyte minerals in your body. If you decide to gulp down more water, you may experience overhydration which can lead to critical symptoms like seizures, mental disorientation, as well as death. This can also stimulate your kidneys to produce more urine to help keep the concentration levels in your body balanced. That means that your body won’t be able to retain the amount of fluid and essential electrolytes it needs to sustain optimal performance.
Hydrate before, during, and after.
To ensure that your body will exert the best effort while you are on the move, top up before you step on your bike. You also need to look after yourself during and even after the activity. If you are doing an especially demanding event, like joining a tournament, then you should begin managing your hydration a couple of days before, just to make sure that you will at optimum levels.
It is quite easy to overlook your hydration levels after you have finished cycling. However, you should always remember that your body will need to re-energize. So, if you can take on a protein and carbohydrate food source to pair with your favorite beverage, you might as well do that.
Weigh yourself before and after a ride
To effectively manage water loss or gained throughout the ride, weigh yourself before and after an activity. Each kilogram of weight that you lose means a liter or fluid loss. If you add the total amount of fluid that you have consumed during your ride, you will determine if you have lost more fluids or have effectively managed whatever fluid you have lost throughout the ride.
There are so many reasons why you may want to go on your bike from health to practical reasons. As you plan when to go and what cycling activities to participate in, you should always consider the proper hydration plan as well. Remember that hydration management begins days before you start with an effort or activity and should continue even after you have gone off your bike.
To make sure that you can always hydrate wherever and whenever you need to, find the best water bottles for cycling and store your favorite beverage in it. Find one that will allow you to use your bottle longer and will be free of any toxic elements so you could secure a clean and healthy drink that you can smartly access any time you want to.