Nutrition trends in the world change at a frustratingly fast rate but one thing is eternal.
The appropriate (more than less) fluid consumption is the basic requirement of the flawless operation of the human body. For an average person the minimal care might be enough to provide for the daily fluid needs of their body but an athlete should pay more attention to fluid replenishment. Here are some facts and tips.
Although water does not contain any calories, vitamins or minerals, it is crucial for every bodily function. Water constitutes 55-65% of our bodyweight.
On a hot summer day (I know, it is winter time :) ) your body can lose two litres of water during sport activities. If you don't replenish that amount, your performance will immediately decline.
According to researches conducted by The University of Texas the symptoms of dehydration during sport activities are: rise in heart rate of eight beats per minute, increase in body temperature, and less effective cardiac function.
It has negative effects on muscle metabolism, accelerates glycogen depletion, slows sweat rate (lack of cooling) and fluid absorption. The worst thing is that by the time you start feeling thirsty, the above mentioned negative processes have already begun...
If your answer is yes to any of the following questions, you should pay more attention to hydration:
Do you go to toilet less than three times a day?
Is your urine dark and smelly?
Do you have a headache after longer trainings?
Do you drink less than one bottle of water an hour during several hours of riding?
Here are some tips and peculiarities concerning the adequate quantity and quality fluid consumption.
Set up a schedule for drinking 1-2.5 dl of fluid every 15 minutes during a longer cycling training, regardless of whether you feel thirsty.
The 60% of your daily fluid intake comes from the food you consume so it is recommended to have juicy fruits and vegetables during the day in equal servings. These vegetables and fruits are 80%-90% water by weight . Five to seven servings of produce per day are recommended.
Have something slightly salty as a snack, because sodium makes your body absorb more water and excrete less.
The most popular sports drinks contain sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes as well as energy-producing carbohydrate. These drinks are recommended for exercise that lasts more than an hour. Take drinks you like the taste of and you'll be more motivated to drink.
Finally, one peculiarity about refuelling.
The necessity of fluid replenishment after hours of exercise is inevitable. But the form of it makes difference. The following experiment was conducted by a laboratory of The University of Texas. Dehydrated athletes were asked to drink nearly 2 liters of fluid 2 hours after they exercised. The study then compared how efficiently the various drinks have decreased and eliminated dehydration. The results showed that diet coke replenished 54% of fluid loss, water 64%, and sports drinks 69%.