We all know that hydration is important for efficient body functioning. But, did you know that staying hydrated can help improve your cycling performance? Well, water helps improve blood circulation, which aids in carrying nutrients and oxygen to the muscles for increased energy and brain function. Staying hydrated also helps in lubricating joints for improved movement and reducing the risk of injury. Moreover, a slight sign of dehydration can negatively affect agility, body endurance, speed, strength and other measures of performance. If you have been struggling with improving your cycling performance, your answer could well be lying in the amount of water that you are taking. Still not convinced? Here are 5 ways water helps improve performance for cyclists.
1. Increases energy
Your performance as a cyclist largely depends on your energy levels. Your secret to high performance lies in being able to maintain high energy levels whether in a competition or practicing. How does hydration help with that? Water helps improve blood circulation and flow throughout the body. This, in turn, enhances the delivery of nutrients to the muscles. In addition, good blood circulation helps with the flow of oxygen to the brain. Otherwise, without the extra help, the heart has to work extra hard to pump blood and oxygen to the working muscles and the brain. This reduces energy and you start seeing signs of fatigue and tiredness. To maintain the right energy levels, ensure that you take plenty of water before you start cycling. When cycling, maintain your water intake by taking a few big gulps after every 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Helps in maintaining good cycling weight
For you to continue performing well in your cycling, maintaining a good weight is key. Surprisingly, water can help you shed excess body fat. For starters, water is important for increasing your body’s metabolism rate. So your body burns calories fast rather than storing them as fats. In addition, water helps in food digestion and also aids in getting rid of toxins and other impurities. However, timing is everything if you want to achieve maximum effect. Ensure that you drink water 30 minutes before meals. This works in enhancing food digestion and acts as an appetite suppressant. You feel a bit full when you take water, which makes you eat less food, and thus, fewer calories.
For this reason, it is important to ensure that you have a constant supply of water throughout the day. But, it is also good to note that water quality matters as much as the quantity. Usually, many people make use of a reverse osmosis water filter for drinking fresh water at home since it comes in handy in giving you clean and high-quality drinking water.
3. Improves movement
Besides providing oxygen and nutrients to the muscles for strength and energy, water helps in lubricating your joints. The synovial fluid responsible for joint lubrication consists of water among other nutrients. When you drink enough water, the more this protective fluid will be available to protect your joints. This means less stress on the joints when you are cycling and improved joint movement.
In addition, water helps increase tolerance to pain. When you are cycling for longer and your muscles start giving in to the pain, taking a bottle of water helps you endure more. Moreover, after you are done with your race or practice, muscle recovery is faster when you are well hydrated.
4. Helps in temperature regulation
Intense body movement causes the body temperature to rise. The body responds by sweating in order to get rid of the excess heat to prevent overheating. In just an hour of intense body movement, you can lose over a quarter of body water. Failing to replace the water lost during cycling not only leads to poor heat regulation but can also cause heat illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. This can be characterized by painful muscle spasms, feelings of weakness, nausea, and even worse, seizures or loss of consciousness.
5. Enhances brain function
As said earlier, water helps in improving oxygen and blood flow to the body organs. Moreover, when oxygen and blood flow to the brain is enhanced, the brain functions at its best. This means that dehydration can be detrimental to your brain functions. You can find yourself dealing with impaired concentration and bad moods. In addition, you risk getting a headache and increased fatigue. It is also possible to show signs of anxiety and stress. You can agree with me that it can be extremely difficult to perform when experiencing such symptoms.
The human body is made of 60% water. It makes sense why we all need water for the body to continue functioning optimally. This is true when you want to perform highly in physical exercises such as cycling. Drinking enough water can help improve body movement, weight loss, heat regulation, brain function, and energy levels. Whether you are cycling for a race or for recreational purposes, hydration is very important in reaching peak performance.