What are your thoughts on cycling sports drinks? Although you can pack water at home, is it really necessary to buy a can of sports drink?
During a survey I conducted at some cycling clubs, I found that about half the riders drank cycling sports drinks, and the other half drank only water. Half of the riders still do not understand the need for sports drinks, or I do not think they are necessary.
Check out how sports drinks can benefit us today!
It’s Not Just Water That You Sweat!
When you are climbing a very steep mountain road and continually increasing your cruising speed on flat ground, your body starts to sweat to cool down your body temperature, but what is in that sweat that runs down your cheeks?
Besides being 99% water, sweat also contains electrolytes.
The body will sweat a lot when the exercise intensity is high and the ambient temperature is high; the rate of electrolyte recovery in the body will not keep up with the rate of loss, resulting in decreased concentrations of electrolytes in the body.
The main functions of these electrolytes are: [water control], [osmotic pressure maintenance], [nerve conduction], and [muscle contraction], each function directly impacts sports performance, so every rider should be attentive to it.
How Does Drinking Water Affect Your Body?
The osmotic pressure of the human body is about 270~330 m Osm/kg. Liquids with an osmotic pressure below 270 are considered low osmotic pressures, and water is low osmotic pressure.
Only drinking water while riding a bike will cause imbalances in the body’s osmotic pressure and accelerate the loss of electrolytes due to sweating, which will lead to cramps. You may feel nauseated and even suffer from dehydration, etc, if the situation is more serious.
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To put it simply:
Increased body temperature * more sweating * lack of salt + only drinking water * depleted sodium ions → more sweating → cramps
For your safety, it’s best to have a can of sports drink on your bike no matter how far you ride.
What Are the Best Cycling Sports Drinks?
There are currently three types of sports drinks on the market: high osmotic pressure, isotonic pressure, and low osmotic pressure.
- Low osmotic pressure: The osmotic pressure is lower than 270 mOsm/kg, and absorption is too rapid.
- The iso-osmotic pressure varies between 270 and 330 mOsm/kg, the electrolyte concentration is similar to that of the human body, and the absorption rate is moderate.
- Osmotic pressure is too high: The osmotic pressure is greater than 330 mOsm/kg, which is the main source of sugar for the body, and the absorption rate is too slow.
The intensity of cycling is high, and one sweats a lot while cycling. Some riders sweat heavily while riding.
Cycling is a very intense form of exercise, and sweat is a very significant factor, so in the summer, car riders have experienced dry mouths and clothes wet enough to squeeze out water.
These conditions make consuming general sports drinks more difficult.
Furthermore, osmotic pressure sports drinks will not have a sweet taste, will be easily absorbed by the body, and will provide fast results.
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Cycling for supplies would be a great use for them.
How To Hydrate Correctly
How can you rehydrate while cycling now that you know what cycling sports drinks are appropriate to drink?
In general, three parts of hydration can be identified: front, middle, and back.
- You can add 250-500 cc of sports drink 30 minutes before cycling to prepare for sweating during exercise.
- To maintain a balance between water in and out, replenish a sports drink every 15 minutes.
- Replace lost electrolytes and water after cycling by drinking an isotonic sports drink.
As a general rule, riders should drink while riding rather than wait until they are thirsty.
Since the body loses 2% of its water when it feels thirsty!
The recovery effect of isotonic sports drinks is better than drinking only water when you feel thirsty during cycling.
Maintaining good hydration habits is essential for maintaining athletic performance!
It is not recommended to drink coffee, juice, or beer while riding, as these beverages will dehydrate you.
Caffeine can cause diuresis and make you go to the bathroom more frequently.
Fruit juices are high in sugar and calories, which can cause blood sugar to become unstable.
When it comes to beer, it goes without saying that drinking and driving are dangerous, so wait until you are done driving before you drink these drinks!
Let me summarize my thoughts.
The concentration of electrolytes in your body will be too low if you only drink water while riding a bike, which can easily lead to physical discomfort.