Exercising, even doing the simplest routines, makes you sweat. If you’re doing it on a hot weather and outside where the terrain can be unpredictable, it can be even more exhausting. Other factors such as age, the intensity of your activity, as well as the period of time that you need to be on the fly, contribute to how much you lose water on the go. Just like when you go biking either to stay fit, go to work, or compete. That gives you more than one reason to find one of the best water bottles for cycling where you can store your favorite beverage and take a sip smartly any time you need to.
Even the safest roads can provide different obstacles and challenges that will create pressure to cause even a more experienced cyclist to require hydration. The fact that our body is made up of 60% water makes it crucial that any lost fluid should be replaced immediately to ensure that every part of your system will function properly.
What is your average cycling speed?
There are different degrees of endurance and speed that any cyclist can manifest while on the bike. If you are a beginner and covers about 10-15 miles per ride, you may produce an average speed of about 10-12 mph. For the more competent cyclists or those who participate in tournaments, like a Tour de France, you may be moving at about 40-45 km/hr or 25-28 mph while you are going on a flat terrain. If you are moving on an uphill terrain, your speed may go down to about 35-40 km/hr or 21-25 mph, however.
There are various factors that will determine your cycling speeds. Physiological aspects like age, sex, as well as your overall health will determine how much you will be moving. Other elements related to your cycling status (if you are a beginner, advanced, or a pro biker), as well as the length of time you have spent on the road and the intensity of your effort. Environmental factors will also influence your cycling speed.
It doesn’t matter if you go fast or slow when you are on your bike, however. What matters is that you will need to hydrate to stay performing optimally. If not, your performance will be affected. If you habitually fail to rehydrate while cycling, your health will also suffer. Note that you won’t feel thirsty if you are not dehydrated already. You may think that your senses are telling you that you need to drink water when, in reality, you already lost 2% of your body weight.
It should be your practice then that you drink every 10-15 mins to adequately replace any fluid lost while on the move. Never drink more than you think you should, however.
Hyponatremia and hydration
Drinking more than your body can actually hold can cause a serious condition called hyponatremia, which has led to several overhydration-related deaths. You may be unaware of this at the beginning, but as your sodium level decreases with the volume of fluid that you take, you may start to feel nauseous and would feel that you like to vomit. If the condition worsens, you may feel other serious manifestations of overhydration, such as confusion, seizures, altered mental condition, and even death.
As you continue with your ride, you may continue to sweat (this, again, depends on the intensity of your effort). As a result, your body temperature will increase. Your blood thickens in the process as well. Note that the amount of water that you release is about four times as much as when you are resting. That means you need to drink more to be able to compensate for any of the lost fluid in your body.
If you are on a bike ride of medium to high intensity, your body cannot absorb water as fast as it loses it. This means that you will need to prepare yourself before you start your bike ride. It’s best that you drink about 16 ounces or two cups of water at least an hour or two before you step on your bike. This will give your body to absorb the fluid that it needs to function as well as begin your ride.
It is also best that you drink at regular intervals while on the move and not just drink to thirst. Note that experts have indicated that thirst is not a good indicator of our hydration level. Professor Stavros Kavouras, Director Hydration Science Lab & Program at the University of Arkansas, together with his colleagues, conducted a study to see which water intake affects health and performance (drinking to thirst or ad libitum or at one’s pleasure) during cycling. They found out that hydration alone is not the best indicator of hydration levels. Factors already mentioned are also at play, as well as psychological factors like fear of dehydration itself.
How much do you need to drink when cycling?
Considering all those things that were mentioned above, there really is no one-size-fits-all thing when it comes to hydration. Expert cyclists recommend that hydration should start a couple of hours before riding your bike and should continue throughout your ride. Drinking at regular intervals will be enough to replenish any lost fluid while you are on the move.
You also need to remember, however, that you lose not only fluid but essential electrolytes, hence water may not be enough to keep you at your best throughout your ride. You can top up with a great-tasting sports drink or any health drink that can keep you on the go. Just make sure that you keep your body hydrated even after you get off your bike. If you can pair your beverage with other food sources, that will be your best option.
Just never leave without a water bottle with you. If you can find and bring one of the best water bottles around, you can be assured that you will be at peace throughout your ride.