How To Stay Hydrated While Riding
It’s now common knowledge that proper hydration in any type of sports-related activity is crucial to maintaining high performance levels, preventing injuries, and recovering afterwards. But what some athletes miss is the proper way to stay hydrated during an event. It’s not as simple as just drinking a Gatorade before you go riding.
Proper hydration is more of a system than a simple exercise. There are rider health rules and guidelines you should follow for staying hydrated. And in this article, we’re going to cover those rules and guidelines so you can be prepared to maintain your peak performance during your next ride or race.
How To Maintain Hydration Before, During, and After You Ride
Before you Ride
Before any major race or ride, it is always a good idea to hydrate so you’re prepared for the sweat loss you will endure during. The most effective way to properly hydrate before the event is to drink between 16 and 20 ounces of water (or Gatorade) 2-3 hours prior to your ride, and then another 8-10 ounces 10-20 minutes before you gear up. This “prescription” is sufficient for any type of activity, from moderate to intense.
During your Ride
During the course of your ride, it is recommended that riders ingest between 8 and 10 ounces of water or electrolyte drink every fifteen minutes. This guideline helps ensure that dehydration does not set in during the event and negatively effect performance. The amount of water needed will vary depending on the intensity of the event. Hydration packs are most often used to stay hydrated during while riding, they don’t cost much and are super convenient.
After You Ride
Hydration after the event is just as important as hydration before and during the event. With an event or ride you’re exerting energy over a prolonged period of time, and your body has depleted many of the minerals and nutrients obtained from prior hydration. In order to avoid dehydration, cramping, and exhaustion, rehydrating with a combination of water and carbohydrates and electrolytes (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) within two hours of the end of the event is recommended.
Proper body hydration before, during, and after an event or riding session cannot be stressed enough. Your body needs to stay hydrated in order to maintain rider health, performance levels, decrease fatigue, and prevent injuries.
The best formula for staying hydrated is to:
- Drink 16 to 20 ounces of water (or electrolyte drink) 2-3 hours before the event, and 8-10 ounces 10 to 20 minutes before the event.
- Switch to 8 to 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes throughout the duration of the event.
- Drink 16 to 20 ounces of a combination of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes (i.e. Gatorade) no more than two hours after the end of the event.
Staying hydrated is essential to rider health and performance, but more importantly your personal safety on the track or trail. Make sure to avoid overhydration when practicing proper hydration!
The video below from Sodexo Education explains performance hydration very well. Granted, it’s not directly related riding, but the information still applies.
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