The single most important rule to remember when cycling is to stay hydrated. In fact, drink water even when you’re not thirsty. Water keeps the body from becoming dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it is taking in. Without water the body doesn’t have ability to carry out its normal functions.
Here are a few reasons why you should stay hydrated:
- The brain is 75% water, giving it the highest water percentage than any other organ.
- The body’s most vital elements are oxygen, water, sodium, and potassium.
- The body uses water to break down nutrients into fuel for the body
- The presence of water regulates body temperature. Water also prevents constipation.
- Losing as little as a 2% water weight can cause dizziness and fatigue and possibly negative effect health. Nine percent and up and you’re are severely dehydrated.
- Water aids in the absorption and transportation of nutrients to the cells.
- Water lubricates the joints to prevent cramping. Synovial fluid (joint fluid) is composed of water.
- Water relieves the liver and kidneys by flushing them of waste products.
Strenuous activities such as cycling require continual hydration.
Without water dehydration sets in and is hard to pull out of since judgment is impaired.
Some symptoms of dehydration are:
- Increased thirst
- Muscle weakness
- Sleepiness; Dry eyes; Dry or sticky mouth
- Dizziness, Lightheadedness
- Tiredness, restlessness, or irritability
- Reduced urine; yellow with a strong odor
- Arms and legs that may feel cool to the touch.
Simple ways to prevent dehydration:
- Drink extra water before, during, and after exercise.
- Take a drink at least every 15 to 20 minutes. Even if not thirsty
- Use a sports drink if exercising for longer than 1 hour.
- Have your child drink extra fluids or suck Popsicles. Children ages 4 – 10 should drink at least 6 to 10 glasses of liquids to replace lost fluids.
- Do not drink coffee, colas, or caffeine drinks. They increase urination. You dehydrate faster.
- Avoid high-protein diets. If you must, be sure that you drink 8 to 12 glasses of water a day.
- Do not drink alcohol. It increases dehydration and impairs judgment.
- Do not take salt tablets. Sports drinks carry enough sodium to replenish your minerals.
- Take a break or stop if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or very tired.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing when exercising. Never exercise in a rubber suit.
Following these simple tips will help ensure you’re around to challenge many more trails for years to come.