The human body is approximately 60% water. With this, it is unsurprising that proper hydration is crucial, especially when you are engaged in physical activities like cycling. Whether it is a leisurely ride or a multi-day race, cycling hydration is a must to unlock your best performance.
If you want to know more about hydration for cycling, read on, and learn from the insights we’ll be sharing. We’ll talk about how much water is enough, as well as some tips on how you can stay hydrated!
The Importance of Hydration for Cycling
The most important reason to stay hydrated when you are on your mountain bike, road bike, or any other bike is to improve your performance. It also replaces lost electrolytes. Dehydration can affect your riding ability. You can suffer from heat exhaustion and your muscular capacity will decrease. Circulatory collapse, hallucination, and heat stroke are also possible. In the worst scenarios, it can result in death.
How Much Water Should You Drink When Cycling?
On average, you need to drink 12 to 16 ounces of water per hour of cycling. This is the general recommendation for adults weighing 155 to 160 pounds. If you are riding in warmer environments and with higher intensity, you need to increase your water consumption. Your age and health conditions will also affect the recommended water intake.
Cycling Hydration: Before, During, and After a Ride
It is not enough that you hydrate when you are on your bike. For effective hydration for cycling, you need to know what to do before, during, and after your ride.
What should I drink before cycling?
Before cycling, you should drink water. Other liquids are also promising in preventing dehydration and improving your performance. Sports drinks, for instance, will have soluble glucose that will transfer to the bloodstream and provide the energy that you need throughout the ride!
What should I drink during cycling?
During cycling, water will be enough for most casual riders. However, if you are in a more intense ride, such as when in a race, you will need drinks with sodium and electrolytes, which will help provide the energy that you need to sustain cycling performance.
What should I drink after cycling?
After cycling, electrolyte-rich drinks are the best to consume. They will help in your recovery. Without electrolytes, you will be prone to muscle fatigue and cramps as a result of having low sodium. Around two hours after cycling, you should also consume drinks with protein, such as milk. High-carb beverages are also recommended to restore energy levels.
Tips and Tricks for Cycling Hydration
Below, we’ll list some of the most important tips when it comes to hydration for cycling. By doing these things, you can be assured of replenishing the liquids you lost and preparing your body for an intense ride.
1. Bring a Water Bottle
Having a cycling water bottle during a ride is one of the best things to do to ensure proper hydration. You will have easy access to water or other drinks that you will need throughout the ride. You won’t be too lazy to drink when you have a water supply with you wherever you go. Bring a bottle large enough that can fit in your bike’s bottle cage depending on how long or intense the ride will be.
2. Go Beyond Water
When talking about hydration for cyclists, most of you will think about water and sports drinks. Without a doubt, they are the best sources of liquids to provide the energy that you will need throughout the ride. Nonetheless, this does not mean that they are your only options. You should also consider adding hydration supplements. These are powders or tablets mixed with plain water. Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content is another creative idea to stay hydrated.
3. Conduct a Sweat Test
Knowing how much to drink when cycling is key to unlocking the benefits of hydration. However, there is no magic number when it comes to how much to drink. Conducting a sweat test will help. Weigh yourself naked and ride for 60 minutes without drinking. Once you are home, strip off and weigh again. The difference will dictate the liquid you lost during the ride and will indicate how much water you need to drink.
4. Know the Types of Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are popular for replenishing liquids in your body during cycling. However, most of you are probably not aware of the different types available. Below are your choices:
- Hypotonic Sports Drinks: These are low-carb drinks that allow fast absorption, best to be taken before or during your ride.
- Isotonic Sports Drinks: It has sugar concentration similar to blood. They provide hydration and fuel but can cause digestive problems.
- Hypertonic Sports Drinks: This is the best choice for recovery after a ride. It has high carbs to replenish the energy you have lost.
5. Dress Properly
Staying hydrated is not just all about what you drink. The way you dress for the ride will also be important. To avoid dehydration, wear something short and light. Mountain bike shorts are better than MTB pants if you want to stay cooler, and hence, having lesser need to hydrate.
Q: How do you hydrate while cycling?
To hydrate while cycling, timing is one of the most important. Do not drink too much or too little. Learn to listen to your body. To minimize the loss of fluids and electrolytes, consider how much you are sweating to determine the need for hydration.
Q: Is Gatorade good for cycling?
Yes, Gatorade is good for cycling, but it may not be enough in most instances. While the potassium content is sufficient, the sodium level is lower compared to what your body needs during cycling.
Globo Surf Overview
Cycling hydration is crucial for your health and performance. From water to sports drinks, you need to replenish the liquids that you will lose during a ride. To determine how much water is enough, consider your age, physical health, sweat rate, and the weather, among other things. The most important thing is whether you are physically fit or not, you should hydrate!