We all know the importance hydration plays in our everyday lives, especially during a race. But sometimes, when you´re caught up in the intensity of a ride, it´s easy to forget the key principles of keeping hydrated.
Our official nutrition partner, OTE take us through why drinking enough water is vital and tips on how to manage this efficiently.
WHY KEEPING HYDRATED IS KEY:
Our body is not a closed circuit. Daily water losses (water, urine) must be offset by sufficient and regular intake. The human body needs on average 35g of water/kilo of body weight every day, which corresponds to 2.5 and 3 liters of water per day.
Water accounts for between 60-70% of our body weight. This aqueous medium allows molecules to take a three-dimensional shape and biological reactions to take place. Body fluids also play a role in transporting nutrients essential to produce energy (blood) and waste (urine, sweat).
Food helps meet the body's water needs and accounts for between a third and a half of your daily intake. But the main source of input remains drinks (water, tea, coffee).
KEEPING HYDRATED DURING A RIDE:
As we all know, during physical activity, water requirements are higher than daily resting needs. And for athletes, hydration is not only reduced during physical exercise, but also before and after. And it´s just as important to master hydration in these phases as it is whilst riding.
The requirements amount to an average of 40g of water/kilo of body weight, which corresponds to a volume between 3.1 and 3.5 liters of water per day. However, these are only averages and the real water needs depend on the person, how far you are riding and the degree of intensity of the effort.
During an intense effort, water losses are significant and therefore the athlete's water needs increase. When riding, your muscles are worked intensely, and naturally athletes sweat more especially when temperatures are high.
On average, water losses can vary between 0.5 and 2.5 liters per hour. Minor dehydration, or about 2% water loss, is accompanied by a 20% drop in sports performance. When the water loss amounts to 4%, the drop in performance can vary between 40 and 60% depending on the surrounding temperature. And the hotter it gets, the lower the performance.
HOW TO MANAGE WATER INTAKE:
Even before a ride, cyclists must pay attention to what they drink. Keeping well hydrated during the days prior to a big ride especially is key to maintaining the water balance of the body and thus contributes to gain strength.
It should be noted, however, that the surrounding temperature may have an impact on performance. It is also not necessary to drink everything at once but to split it up, otherwise you can run this risk of suffering from bloating. It is best practice to drink between 100 and 200ml of water every 15 to 20 minutes.