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.
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