It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional cyclist or are just riding for fun or recreation when it comes to proper hydration. To make sure that you won’t feel any discomfort while en route, you need to continuously fuel up. If you have one of the best water bottles for cycling, it will be quite easy to drink at regular intervals and you won’t have to suffer from the pangs of dehydration. It may be quite easy to disregard your need to replace lost fluids while you’re on your bike, but if you continue to voluntarily dehydrate yourself, not only your performance but your health will suffer. It is just as important to be sensitive to the signals that your body is sending when dehydration is starting to set in as understanding the significance of getting hydrated while on the go.
For this reason, we have dedicated this post to help you, the avid cyclist, in identifying the signs of dehydration.
One of the most important thing that you should always have with you when you are on the go is a water bottle. If you fail to bring one, it won’t be long until you experience the signs of dehydration.
It is important to note that dehydration is a serious problem experienced not only by beginner athletes but even amongst professional athletes, as well as those who engage in regular or intense exercise. But the common question asked is how much water is enough to keep your body hydrated.
How do you manage your hydration levels on the bike?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that the total water intake consuming a combination of water, beverages, and food for young men and women (ages 19 through 30 years) is 3.7 L and 2.7 L a day. Note that there are several factors that influence a person’s hydration requirements, including your age, sex, body build, overall health, and environmental factors. And if you are engaging in intense activities like cycling, you will be releasing more body water as you sweat, which means that you will need to drink more water as you ride.
Failing to provide the proper hydration for the body will mean that you are straining your heart. As the heart propels all other body parts with the blood that it transports throughout the body systems, you will feel physical disturbances that will hinder you from being at your best while doing any activity.
For you to understand what really happens when you’re not replenishing lost body fluids properly, we will provide you with some of the finer details of this condition.
About 70% of the human body is made up of water. If there is not enough body water to fuel the body, you can’t expect your body to function as it is expected. For instance, water in the body aids in the lubrication of the eyes as well as the joints. It also contributes to a healthy digestive system. If water is lost or reaches an unacceptable level, it affects the salt balance in the body and will hinder your performance.
By the time your body’s water content drops by 1-2 percent, you’ll begin to feel thirsty as your body is already feeling the strain and crying out for you to replenish lost fluid. Losing more than this can lead to unwanted symptoms which, if left untreated, can cause severe health issues which require medical assistance.
Being thirsty is one of the more obvious signs dehydration. There are other more subtle manifestations that you be aware of and address before your body begins to suffer.
Rapid Heart Rate
During an intense activity, your heart rate will beat faster as it propels your body to provide more oxygen to your previously rested muscles. It will pump harder, resulting to faster pulse. However, if you notice an unusual increase of about 20-30bpm, it could be a sign of dehydration setting in.
Your heart also beats faster as it tries to compensate for the reduced blood volume in the body (remember that you sweat more when engaged in intense activities like cycling) to get the oxygen and blood flowing throughout the body.
Light Headedness and Dizzy Spells
You get a light-headed feeling (also known as postural hypotension) as you stand up quickly. This happens when there is not enough blood that reaches your brain. This, again, results from the low blood volume in the body.
If this occurs, your body is signaling you to take in some water to regain any lost body water.
Gravity-induced Skin Strain
A decreased in skin turgor is also a key indicator of your hydration level. When the skin on the back of your hand takes a long time to return to its normal position when pinched that means dehydration is starting to set in.
The stronger the color and smell of your urine, the more water you have to consume.
Make sure that you drink and have toilet breaks regularly. Note that as soon as dehydration sets in, urine production decreases dramatically, which can lead to serious health consequences.
Your saliva is packed with useful enzymes to help to chew and break down the components of the food to ready it for digestion. Your saliva also has anti-bacterial properties. When you’re dehydrated, it’s difficult to produce as much saliva, however.
The reduced level of saliva allows bacteria to build up on your teeth and around your mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
When you dehydration sets in, oxygen that reaches your brain is lessened. The brain may also shrink as a result of lost fluids. This can cause the brain to pull away from the skull resulting in a dehydration headache.
Proper hydration is crucial to ensure that your body remains healthy and that your body can be at its best. If signals of dehydration are left unattended for a long time, you will experience the unnecessary problems caused by dehydration.
Make sure you take enough water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. When you engage in intense activities, you will need more. Remember that diets with high salt content as well as alcohol can dehydrate the body quicker, so you need to make sure that you take less of these if you want to remain healthy.