Making sure your body is properly hydrated when taking part in any form of sport or exercise is very important, both in terms of safety and performance. You’ll lose fluid through your pores from sweating as your body attempts to cool itself down, and also through the air that you’re breathing out as you exert yourself. Without sufficient fluid in your system you can become dehydrated quickly and this can have a negative effect on your health as well as have a serious impact on your ability to perform and continue exercising or competing. Taking too much water on board can also be a problem though, so ensure you do not take things to the other extreme.
When it comes to cycling, staying hydrated is just as important as if you were running or playing a game of rugby. Of course the amount of effort that you need to put into your hydration regime depends a lot on the type of ride that you’re doing. If it is a simple commute into work then you’re not going to have to do any real preparation and a bottle of water attached to your bike should suffice. If however you are preparing for a major ride into the mountains or perhaps are about to take part in a competition then you will need to spend time considering your strategy.
Don’t go overboard though
Taking on fluid ahead of exercise is important. It will get you off on the right footing and will help to prevent problems occurring once you have set off. However, remember not to go overboard as all that will happen is that you’ll be searching for toilet stops every five minutes once you have set off. An hour or two before you plan to get underway start to sip a 16-ounce drink and then go for a few gulps of water every quarter of an hour or so while you are on the bike.
Simple solutions work
While on the bike, a water bottle can be the simplest and most cost effective way to stay hydrated. However, if you are going on a long ride in high temperatures then there is a good chance you will not be able to hold enough water this way. In this situation, something like a CamelBak hydration pack is the way forward. It will rest easily against your back out of the way and provide you with a simple and accessible source of fluid.
When it comes to what to drink, then for most people involved in moderate exercise, water will be fine. It’s only when you are really pushing yourself is it necessary to think about specialist sports drinks as these also contain carbohydrates and electrolytes, which will allow your body to keep going for longer.
So keep hydrated
Staying hydrated is pretty straight forward once you have the necessary equipment and knowhow, but it’s always important to remember that the best thing you can ever do is listen to your body. If it’s telling you to ease up then pay attention! And remember, rather than worrying too much about hydration when you are about to leave on a ride, think about it continually every day. Staying hydrated is important for the body and it shouldn’t be something that you only start to think about before or during exercise.