Want to boost your performance on a long ride without doing any extra training? Guess what- it’s easier than you think! Studies have shown that remaining hydrated helps improve performance for moderate to long rides. And it makes sense – your muscles require water to function well, and without it, you are prone to cramps and poor performance. But the truth is, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Water helps both regulate your body temperature and keep your joints lubricated. Both of these things are especially important when you are cycling. Proper hydration begins before you get on the bike. Drink water 2-3 hours before you ride. Then, focus on drinking 8-10 ounces of water every 15 minutes or so while you ride. Adjust that number based on your level of exertion and the temperature, but it should serve as a guide.
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Sports drinks are great when you are working at maximum exertion levels or riding in the heat. If you sweat a lot, you might want to consider using a sport drink or adding some hydration salts to your water, too. But sports drinks can be expensive and add extra, unwanted calories. One tip is to mix your favorite sports drink with water. Either alternate drinking a sports drink and drinking water, or mix them 50/50 in a bottle. This way you get a bit of added sodium and electrolytes.
Signs of Hyponatremia
Ever heard of hyponatremia? You should have! Hyponatremia has killed at least 12 athletes in recent years. It occurs when the body is overloaded with water. It’s rare, but it does happen. It occurs with greater frequency in high-intensity activities like marathons and triathlons.
When you perform at intense levels, especially for extended periods of time, you sweat – a lot. As you drink, you might find yourself guzzling water. This combination can the level of sodium in your body to become diluted – sometimes to dangerous levels. Signs of hyponatremia include confusion, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, headache, muscle spasms, and seizures.
Certain medications can contribute to hyponatremia, so it’s good to speak with your physician if you take any regular medications and workout at intense levels. Hyponatremia is a medical emergency, so if you experience symptoms or you notice symptoms in someone else, take action immediately.
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Dehydration and hyponatremia can both be avoided, but bicycle crashes cannot. If you have been in a bicycle crash and have questions about you can you receive fair compensation for your injuries, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.