How to Stay Hydrated While Cycling

 

A Person riding a bicycle on a road next to a forest.

When you are cycling, it is imperative to stay hydrated. It doesn't matter that you're not racing or taking on an epic day ride. Even if you are taking a joyride, you'll reduce your performance and delay recovery if you don't stay hydrated. It should be no surprise that you need to be hydrated to function at your best. You can do many things to ensure that you are making the most of your training session or that you are outputting the best possible performance if you are in a race. That is why we will share with you how to stay hydrated while cycling.

Why Drinking Water Is Essential

According to research, if you ride your bicycle without drinking any water or adequate liquid supplementation, it will have a significant impact on your ability to bike. For example, for a 175 lbs rider, sweating may cause a 2 percent loss in body weight, which in this case would be 3.5 lbs of weight loss. Without a doubt, if you were to lose this much weight in such a short time, it would have an impact on performance. If you lost any more than that, say, 4 percent of body weight through sweating, it could become dangerous. That much weight loss will cause muscle cramping and heat exhaustion. At 7 percent, you will start to have hallucinations, and at 10 percent, circulatory collapse, heatstroke, and even death are possible.

A bottle of water on a table to stay hydrated while cycling.

No matter how long your training session is, you should bring a bottle of water with you.

Hydrated Before Cycling

There are so many benefits you will have if you regularly drink water. It will help your skin and your muscles, and drinking water can help you lose weight. Since water can help you shed pounds, hydration is especially important for people on a weight loss journey. Therefore, you should be drinking water all the time. This is especially the case if you plan on going on a long bicycle ride. The process of keeping hydrated should start before you even begin cycling. This crucial advice is often overlooked. Being well hydrated before engaging in any physical activity prepares your body for the amount of labor and effort it will perform. If you are cycling in a warmer climate, water will also help your body stay cool.

Stay Hydrated While Cycling

While the prevalent assumption that drinking water during vigorous exercise is unhealthy to some extent is correct, it is not always the case. People believe that you should only drink water when you are thirsty, which is not true for long-distance biking or endurance exercise. Research reveals that thirst is not the best indicator of overall hydration state when it comes to endurance training. The best approach to staying hydrated when riding is to drink little amounts of water every 10 to 15 minutes. This replaces the water lost through sweating, keeps you focused, and increases stamina.

 

The amount of water you should drink while cycling should vary depending on the length of your workout. You must monitor your water usage carefully. If you don't, you can develop cramps or heat stroke while cycling in a hot climate. This can be an even more significant issue if you are cycling alone, especially if your ride goes well outside populated areas.

Different Types Of Drinks You Can Use While Cycling

Many different types of drinks will help you on your ride. You don't need to drink water only. In fact, in some cases, water will not be enough. For example, if you plan a multi-day bike ride, you will need something more nutritionally dense. With that said, we will talk about the different types of beverages you can use to stay hydrated.

Athlete sips water from a bottle.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important aspects of sports and training.

Water

As you are well aware, water is the stuff of life. It is a part of the majority of biological functions in our body. Water lubricates your joints, allowing you to move more freely while you cycle. It carries oxygen throughout your body, which aids in the reduction of lactic acid build-up and the unpleasant feeling in your muscles. Water also regulates your body temperature via perspiration. Drinking water will keep you hydrated and improve your overall health. That is why you should bring a water bottle whenever you go for a ride.

Sports Drinks

In some situations drinking water will not be enough to get you to the finish line. Sports beverages will restore lost bodily fluids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes due to rigorous physical activity. This can be an even bigger factor if you are training during a hot summer day. In addition to reducing dehydration, sports drinks may keep you energized throughout your ride. However, when you consume these sports drinks, you need to be careful. They contain various ingredients that are beneficial during strenuous exercise but that are otherwise dangerous. Additionally, some brands use carcinogenic materials in the production of their sports drinks. Therefore you need to pay attention to ingredients as well. 

Soft Drinks

In some cases, you could use soft drinks or carbonated drinks. While these sorts of drinks are full of sugar and are generally unhealthy for you, they can be beneficial when you need all the energy you can get. Furthermore, soft drinks consist of simple sugars that your body can quickly absorb. This makes them ideal for emergencies. However, we don't recommend that you use them to stay hydrated, but if you are going on long-distance rides, they are good to have as an emergency backup.

A bottle of juice surrounded by various fruits.

Soft drinks can come in handy when you need simple sugar to help you finish your ride, but you shouldn’t rely only on them to stay hydrated while cycling.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to stay hydrated while cycling, we want to say a couple of closing words. More accurately, we want to implore you to drink more water. Just because you are finished with your ride doesn't mean you should stop drinking water. You need to drink at least half a gallon of water a day. This way, you will be better prepared for your next ride, but you will also be a much healthier person.

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