Drinking properly when cycling - what's to consider in hot temperatures

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When you're already sweating without any physical exertion, many people realise that sport is not an option today. But not everyone wants to miss out on sporting activities when temperatures are high. After all, if you skip training too often, you may not achieve your training goals. But don't worry: you don't necessarily have to skip exercise on hot summer days. But you should be careful not to overload your body. You can do this with these tips:

Find cooler times and places

On hot days, it is best to cycle in the cooler morning or evening hours. You should also prioritise routes through forests, as this is where it is shadiest. The basics on hot days - drinking enough and protecting yourself from the sun with sun cream and headgear - apply even more when cycling.

Exactly how much you need to drink depends on numerous factors, such as the type of cycling, the intensity and duration of the exertion, your level of training and, of course, the climate.

When you should reach for a water bottle

When you get on your bike in high temperatures, a well-filled water bottle should be your constant companion.  You should drink 100 to 250 millilitres approximately every 15 to 30 minutes, even if you don't feel thirsty.

By the time you start to feel thirsty, it may already be too late, as your body is signalling an acute lack of fluids and slowing down your performance. When cycling, you can lose up to two litres of water per hour.

Biking despite the heat: the right drinks are crucial

In addition to the amount of fluid, its ingredients are also crucial. You may have noticed that, in addition to sweat, you also form salty deposits on your skin when you get home from a sports session.

To optimally cover your salt requirements in summer, you should consume around 0.5 to 1.0 gram of salt per litre of liquid. It is perfectly sufficient to sprinkle a small pinch of table salt into your drink. However, if you want to take a precise dose, you can also use salt tablets.

In addition to sodium-rich mineral water, special sports drinks, homemade fruit juice spritzers or isotonic drinks are particularly suitable for an adequate intake of fluids, minerals and salt.

Hyperhydration: the danger of drinking too much

In addition to dehydration, there is another danger for athletes: hyperhydration, also known as water intoxication. Although the athlete consumes sufficient fluids, the composition is not correct. The body excretes salts with the sweat, but does not get them back.

The result: the water-salt ratio in the body is out of balance. The absorbed fluid enters the tissue. Water retention forms in the brain (oedema). The resulting pressure impairs breathing and, in extreme cases, can even lead to death.

Water intoxication can be recognised in good time by a number of symptoms: If you feel unwell and can clearly feel the water sloshing in your stomach, please stop drinking immediately. Salty pretzels and savoury snacks can be helpful in such a case.

Nausea, tiredness, confusion, heavy breathing, a severe throbbing headache and swelling of the hands and feet can also indicate hyperhydration. If you experience severe symptoms, please consult a doctor or hospital immediately.

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