The hot summer months are approaching fast. So for the cyclist, it is time to prepare our routines to stay hydrated as much as possible.
If you are like me, you pretty much ride everywhere you go. If you do I am sure you put in anywhere between 7 to 12 miles a day. I am around 7 to 10 miles a day because I use my bike to commute to work and also pleasure ride on weekends.
I ride in the winter as well and maybe some of you out there do too. But we don’t perspire anywhere near as much as we do when it gets hot like it does in the summer. So staying hydrated for summer bike rides are very important. During the course of the day, I drink out of a 32 oz. bottle all day. I try to drink at least 3 of them while at work.
Being Healthy = Being Hydrated
I would like to share some information that I ran into from the American Heart Association. Not only does staying hydrated prevents us as a cyclist from getting heat stroke in the hot summer heat, it actually is just good heart maintenance.
Tough Job of the Heart
The heart is what supplies our body with blood to every part of our body so we definitely want it to be operating at peak performance as long it can. This means we must take care of it. And one way is to keep the body hydrated just like we need to put oil in a car.
Staying hydrated will help the heart pump our blood through our blood vessels to supply the muscles much easier than if we didn’t.
Dr. John Batson, MD, who is a sports medicine physician and American Heart Association volunteer, states if you are well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to perform its duties.
I don’t know about you but I believe in not overworking my heart so that I don’t wear it out over the years. I’m sure you know what I mean. You take care of it and it takes care of you.
Amount of Water that will Suffice
Dr. Batson says that it depends on a few factors. The climatic condition, clothing worn & exercise intensity and the duration of the exercise.
If you ride a bike in the heat it doesn’t take much to perspire heavily. Then throw in the distance you are riding and that adds up to a lot of water loss. Because we all perspire differently it is going to be yet another factor.
Medical conditions also are a factor. If you have diabetes or heart disease you probably need more water. Me myself, I am slightly diabetic so it was good to know this information.
Dr. Batson recommends in order to know how much fluids you need, weigh yourself before and after your workout or hard ride to see how much sweat you lost. Ex…
Convert weight loss into ounces. Each pound is counted as 16 ounces. If you lost only one pound you need to replenish your body with 1 pint of water. If y0u want to know what you lost in an hour bike riding, take the number of ounces lost divided by the number of hours. Ex. If you lost 16 ounces in 2 an hour ride you would be losing 8 ounces per hour.
Dr. Batson simply says that for every pound of sweat that is loss replenish each pound with a pint of water. (1 lb = 1 pint)
Best Hydrating Fluid
Water is considered to be the best thing to drink. You can also obtain water from foods such as fruits & vegetables which contain a high percentage of water.
Sports drinks are believed by many to be the great hydrate. They are great with really high-intensity workouts but are packed with added sugars.
Water should be chosen over drinks that contain caffeine which acts as a diuretic & causes more fluid loss. Fruit juices or sugary drinks such as a soda can be hard on your stomach if you are dehydrated Dr. Batson says.
Water is overall the best and Dr. Batson recommends that it be consumed before you exercise o0r go out into the hot sun. Drinking water prior prevents you from playing catch up. doing it that way only puts your heart at a strain.
So let’s prepare for the hot bike rides this summer with all of this in mind. I would like to see my fellow cyclist have a healthy, safe and enjoyable riding experience while staying fit.
Thanks for visiting and leave any questions and comments in the comment section. Don’t forget to pick up your cycling needs here at Ron’s Cycle Plus on this website.
This was a great article! We just moved from Colorado to Arizona a few months ago and I was thinking about this summer and how important it will be to make sure that my kids get all of the water intake they need to stay hydrated. At 110+ degrees every day it could be so dangerous not to get enough. However what I love about your article is the answers it gives. We all know we need to drink water, we just don’t always know why! Thank you for the great information!!
You are very welcome. Yeah, that heat is going to take some getting used too. I remember when I went to California from Chicago to live and the heat was brutal to me at first. I was used to jogging in the daytime sometimes but it used to be hard to breathe when I tried it there. The kind of heat you guys are going to be facing will require you to take in a good amount of water. Stay hydrated and be safe. Glad you visited.
Great piece on summer bike riding. I am a runner so I see a lot of use for this for myself. I’ve heard the Lb=Oz rule before. Great article on a very important piece.
I think you probably perspire more than I do on the bike so it is definitely a good thing for you to stay hydrated. I use to jog a couple of miles a day but my joints made me switch to something with a little less impact on them. But riding is just as fun. I try to make sure I drink water during the course of a day to ensure I am never caught unprepared. Keep checking in on us.
Hi, Ronnie, this is very informative, I have just pulled my bike out of the garage so I can get it serviced and ready for the summer.
It is funny you mention diabetes, I am an insulin dependant diabetic, and I drink lots of water anyway.
I do enjoy cycling in the summer and alway take plenty of water with me, along with some jelly babies and my BG meter, of course, I am not a fan of hydrating drinks because they can mess up my blood glucose numbers.
For me, cycling is fantastic because it gets me out and about but I have, to be honest, Ronnie, I am not a fan of cycling in the winter.
I know. Not many people like it. It isn’t bad once you adapt, though. I pray you continue to win the battle with your diabetes. I hope you enjoy your riding this summer. Try some of the things I mentioned in an earlier post to expand your adventures. Thank you and visit soon.
I’m brand new to cycling! I just got myself a (second hand) bike that probably needs a service but I’m looking forward to using it mainly as a quick get-around instead of using my car. I’m generally a pretty well hydrated person, but I found these tips great. Thanks for sharing!
No problem, Shirley. So, you’re just starting out Huh? You will love it. I ride my bike to work every day the weather permits. I ride about 7 to 10 mile a day and even in the winter if there is no ice or snow. You probably could have gotten you a new low-end bike like a Mongoose or a Murray for the cost you paid plus the cost to service it. But either way, it can be a great bike. Take a look around on Ron’s Cycle Plus for all your biking needs. I am sure you will find some great prices. Thanks for visiting.
Great advice! I consciously drink water throughout the day and I do notice the difference – I feel more energized.
It is a good idea to stay hydrated because your body will function more efficiently. So keep on drinking during the course of a day. I keep a 32 oz. bottle that I try to drink all day at least 2 to 3 times.
What a very interesting article with great tips for those engaged in exercise causing dehydration. I particularly liked the very relevant pictures for this topic and for the great tips on how to measure body fluid lost through exercise and the need to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Thank you Jim. I was aiming to provide all the information to stress how important it is to stay hydrated even if you are just out in hot weather as well. If you ever suffered a mild heat stroke, you know it is not a good feeling at all. So I encourage everyone to remember these things as the weather heats up.