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How to Hydrate in the Heat

May 30th, 2024 | by Keaton Smith

The first thing I heard from Robby and Carina when we got to the office one day last week was "Damn it is hot out!" They had just returned from a run, and even though it wasn't quite 70 yet, it was humid and temps were rising.

By the afternoon, it hit 87. With plans to mountain bike after work, my mind was on the heat and how I would stay hydrated. For many of you, it's been hot for a while and it's only going to get hotter.

So, we thought that some tips on how to stay hydrated this summer, especially while exercising in the heat would be helpful for you and your customers! We consulted sports dietician Kristen Arnold, (who we've featured in the past here), so all the tips are from her! Thanks, Kristen!

Why Hydration Matters

Drinking the right amount of fluids is key for a happy and healthy cyclist. Hydration plays important roles in metabolism, nutrient absorption, digestion, lubricating joints, temperature regulation, cognitive sharpness and performance. 

Sweating + Hydration Go Hand in Hand

In hot temperatures, the body cools itself by sweating, which then dissipates heat and helps regulate your internal temperature. But to produce enough sweat, your body needs enough fluid. That’s where drinking plenty of water comes in. 

Better hydration = more sweat production = staying cool in the heat and humidity.

It’s Not that Surprising: Cold Fluids Make a Difference

Studies show that cold water may be more effective than room temperature water at keeping athletes hydrated during hot and humid conditions. These researchers reported that cold (not iced) beverages improved performance in the athletes they studied.

Another study showed that cold water or ice-slush with menthol (mint flavor) was more effective than room temperature water for endurance exercise in tropical climates. 

It isn’t really that surprising: cold water is nice to have in the heat. But it’s interesting to see the proof that these fluids actually cool our core body temperature while riding in the heat and therefore boost performance. 

How Much and What to Drink

Drinking enough water before and during rides is essential. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that we have something we enjoy drinking so we will actually drink regularly. Research shows that in hot and humid conditions, athletes actually drink more fluids when it is cold or has ice. If you’re someone that hates plain water, find a flavored drink mix that suits you (my favorite is watermelon Plink! -Keaton)

A good rule of thumb for replacing fluids lost from sweat is to drink 4-8oz every 10-15 minutes. Consider sports drinks which contain carbohydrates and electrolytes like sodium to energize, better meet fluids needs, and make drinking fluids even more enjoyable.

So? Grab your go-to hydrating beverage, pop it in your favorite insulated water bottle 😉 and get out there and enjoy the trails!

P.S. The Bivo team is also a huge fan of cooling down by jumping in streams mid-ride. Give it a try next time you’re too hot out on a ride!

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