Cycling is a fairly energetic sport and as such, it's likely that you'll perspire a fair amount on your ride. The harder you cycle, the more you'll exert yourself and the more you'll sweat. While you can stay fresh and cool thanks to the breathable material that most cycle clothing is made of, it's still vital that you stay well hydrated. You may not feel the need to drink during your bike ride, but the more you sweat, the more water you'll lose from your body that can cause muscles to become more tired and lead to you developing dehydration headaches later on in the day (and trust me, they're painful).
It's easy to stay hydrated on your bike ride - you can fill a water bottle with water before you set off and then take regular sips throughout your ride. In addition to quenching your thirst and preventing you from getting a headache later on in the day, it'll also keep you cooler during your ride so you'll feel less exhausted and be more determined to continue cycling for longer.
However, it's also worth remembering that you shouldn't just guzzle a gallon of water as soon as you return from your ride as this can lead to you becoming over-hydrated which can be just as bad for your body as being dehydrated.
If you have taken tea, coffee, alcohol or any carbonated drink within the last 12 hours, you're probably starting off with a water deficit. Just make sure that you have water before, during and after any sustained physical exertion. There are no hard and fast rules as to how much water you should drink, but the American Council of Fitness suggests that you take in 600mls (20 ounces) of water two to three hours before you exercise. If you are dehydrated before you begin, then your core temperature will increase rapidly and put unnecessary strain on your cardiovascular system.
The fitness organization also suggests that a person consumes 250mls (8 ounces) 20 to 30 minutes before you begin to exercise or during your warm-up. As you complete your exercise schedule, it is advised that you drink 200 to 300mls (7 to 10 ounces) at 10- or 20-minute intervals, depending on the intensity level of the exercise. Follow this with 250mls (8 ounces) of water within 30 minutes of getting through your physical activity.
There are numerous factors that can be considered to indicate the correct amount of fluid to drink, such as time taken and how intense the exercise is. Two simple ways you can use to check whether or not you're staying hydrated enough include monitoring your urine output and color. Passing a lot of light colored, diluted urine indicates that you are hydrated, whereas concentrated and a dark colored urine is good sign that you're dehydrated.
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