Many cycling enthusiasts often complained that they only drank a small amount of water before riding, did enough preparations without eating a lot of food, but why do they experience abdominal pain and bloating after a short ride? The situation like this may not surprise the doctor. In fact, many cyclists will have this situation. After a long-distance riding, they feel mouth parched and tongue scorched, so they hold tight their water bottle and just drink like a fish. As everyone knows, drinking too much water can easily cause “Exercise Abdominal Pain”. Because cycling is a long-term outdoor sport, it is very important to know how to replenish water in your body, especially in the hot summer days. The knowledge of drinking water is very important to every cyclist. Although water is necessary for life, everyone should avoid some misunderstandings about drinking water.

What will happen to lack of water and electrolytes?

Lack of water will lead to reduced perspiration while the function of perspiration is mainly to dissipate the heat of our body. Therefore, water shortage will cause hyperthermia. Once the body temperature rises, it will be prone to heatstroke or heat exhaustion. In order to avoid the heat stroke, your body will be physical fatigue easily and force yourself to have a rest. Electrolytes are composed of sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) plasma. They are needed for nerve conduction and muscle contraction during exercise. If they are not enough in your body, nerve conduction will go wrong which resulting in incomplete muscle contraction and cramps. If you only drink boiled water after a lot of sweating, your body’s electrolyte concentration will decrease and the situation will get worse. Therefore, it is recommended that every rider remember: “Just drinking water is not enough!”.

What kind of water is good to drink during exercise?

For hydrating yourself during exercise, it is best to choose mineral water which is rich in calcium and magnesium to supplement the body’s demand for mineral salts, because muscle exercise will increase the demand for mineral salts, and the volatilization of sweat will also take away some of the minerals in the body. You can also supplement carbon-containing soda, fruit juice, vegetable juice, and milk in order to eliminate toxins in the body. In addition, the correct way to replenish water is to drink a small amount of water in several times. It is best to drink warm boiled water. Even in summer time, the water temperature should be between 5-10 degrees Celsius. It is better not drink very ice water because it may cause digestive system problems.

How to hydrate before, during and after exercise?

Before Exercise:

If you still have time to go to the toilet, you can drink as much water as possible. And you are supposed to drink water in a small amount and a few times so that your body is full of water before you go cycling.

During Exercise:

Take a small amount of water in several times (about 200ml/time/15 minutes) to allow the body to absorb it completely. Drinking too much at one time may cause bloating and diuresis. Generally speaking, when a person’s water reduction rate reaches 2% (feel thirst in the throat), it will affect the performance of exercise. If you have a similar feeling during exercise, you must increase the frequency of hydration.

After Exercise:

As there is no time pressure after exercise, you should try to drink sports drinks to replenish water and electrolytes. If there is dehydration during exercise, it is recommended to extend the rest time. For example, when the moisture reduction rate reaches 4% (skin redness, body temperature rise, anxiety, tiredness, reduced urination), the body needs to recover as long as 24 hours. So you would better try to replenish water and electrolytes during the exercise!

LEVEL 1   New Rider

Features: The new riders have poor balance that they stop every time while drinking water. Normally they have difficulty in getting a drink without stopping or slowing a lot and do not know that the mineral water bottle would be dangerous if it fell off the bicycle. They may think that as long as they drink water, they don’t need to drink sports drinks until you get cramps.

Motto: Wait for me, I want to hydrate myself!

Equipment: bottle cage with mineral water plastic bottles.

▲Please go buy a professional and healthy water bottle for your riding!

LEVEL 2   Skilled Rider

Features: Basically, they are used to riding a bicycle, and it’s no problem to drink for them while riding. They buy sports drinks and adjust the taste by themself, and occasionally forget to wash the water bottle which often leads to the need to buy a new water bottle.

Motto: Wouldn’t it be better to drink water when I remember?

Equipment: 1~2 water bottles, one bottle for water, one bottle for sports drinks.

LEVEL 3   Sports Expert

Features: They feel that the average road surface is no longer enough. They will participate in many cycling activities, paying special attention to physical training and calorie control, and they can replenish water under any circumstances.

Motto: Ten more minutes…and twenty minutes…

Equipment: water bottle mounted on the frame.

LEVEL 4   Water Monster

Features: They are clearly carrying the most water, but they will drink it up unknowingly and are always afraid of not having enough water.

Motto: Do you want to drink water?

Equipment: water bag & water bottle filled with water.

How to drink water while riding? How much water is appropriate? The general principle of exercise hydration is “Preventive Supplement” and “Small Amount and Many Times”. First of all, make up a water supplement in 250-500ml about 15-30 minutes before the departure. Under normal circumstances, our riding rests once in about an hour and a half. You can choose to drink 150-300 ml of water during the riding process, and the amount of water you drink should not exceed 100 ml. Remember that the amount of water should not be too much. Otherwise, it is not conducive to absorption, but also swells the stomach and affects digestion. If a riding time lasts for 2-3 hours, it is best to add sugar in time to avoid hypoglycemia during rest. Therefore, you can choose some sweet drinks, such as water-mixed fruit juice or sports drinks supplemented with sports sugar. If you ride for more than three hours, you need to take in 500ml of water during exercise and prepare some fruits. At the end of the day’s riding, according to the length of exercise time, add 250ml-500ml of water.

How do you replenish water when you are riding? In addition to the four levels above, what other hydrating methods have you seen that impressed you deeply? What kind of  water bottle would you choose for hydrating?

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