Cycling can easily tire you down. You will also sweat a lot as you ride on two wheels or do any strenuous activity as this is the body’s way to manage your body temperature. To keep your performance up, you need to stay hydrated. This can help keep you going and also maximize your efforts. You can easily top up with a water bottle with cage even as you roll. But water may not be enough to keep you hydrated. Read on to find out what you can drink as you bike as an alternative to water.
What happens when you do a high-intensity exercise such as cycling?
Your body temperature rises while you exercise. As a result, water and electrolytes are released as you sweat. A minor change in the body fluid volume can easily be dealt with by the body. Large body fluid volume loss, however, can result in dehydration. Once you are dehydrated, you can easily feel tired. Dehydration can also result in an increased heart rate, a reduced heat tolerance, as well as a slower bodily response. As a result, your exercise performance will be impaired even if it means that only 2% of your body fluid is lost through sweat and all other body functions.
Acute dehydration, which is likely experienced by athletes, and persists for days may cause a significant drop in the quality of performance.
During a prolonged exercise or an intense workout, you lose not only water but electrolytes as well. If you fail to replace lost electrolytes or dilute them as you drink more water than you need (a condition known as hyponatremia), you may experience muscle cramps, fatigue, lethargy, nausea, and headaches. Severe cases of hyponatremia can also cause death.
To ensure that you are properly replacing lost body fluids and electrolytes, you will need to top up at regular intervals even while cycling. You do this even before you head out to the gym or step on your bike, as well as after you are done with your routine or training.
There are different hydration fluids that you can take with you so you can top up even while you are cycling or doing your usual training routine. Hydration drinks keep your body from being dehydrated. As hydration fluids also contain sodium, it can also help stimulate thirst and water absorption from the intestine, which leads to the retention of more fluids in the body.
If you are riding for only a short time (up to an hour), water will be enough to replace fluids you lose as you ride. However, if you are doing high-intensity exercises or cycling to compete or for a longer period of time, drinking hydration products will be necessary.
The rule of the thumb to proper hydration is to start your training (or your ride) well hydrated. You will also need to drink at regular intervals and not only when you start feeling thirsty since by the time you feel thirsty you have already lost about two to three percent of your body fluid volume.
Aim to top up every 15 minutes with about 125 ml of your favorite hydration drink to ensure that fluid balance is maintained in your body. If you do choose one, the rule of thumb is to start your ride well hydrated, and to adopt a regular pattern of drink intake, aiming for 125ml every 15 minutes. This will help maintain fluid balance in your body.
There are several hydration alternatives that you can opt to store in your water bottle, including coconut water, infused water (water mixed with fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs), and also energy drinks. The best hydration alternative, however, is one that will encourage you to drink more as you ride your bike.
Be mindful, however, that not all hydration drinks contain enough carbohydrate. Thus, it will help if you can bring some energy gels and dried fruits, such as raisin, that you can much as you roll to help boost your endurance.
Bring your best hydration fluid (one that makes you drink more and replaces both water and electrolytes lost) that you can drink as you ride your bike. Store them in one of the best water bottles with cage that can easily be secured on your bike. You can reach out and top up as you go when you have one.