Hydration: Get Your Drink on!
by Kristina Miller
|A Camel Pack is a must if you expect to stay hydrated on long training sessions or if you race long off-road races.|
The sun is shining, the breeze is warm, and it is time for riders to come out and enjoy another motocross season. As the weather improves an important aspect all riders need to remember is hydration. One of the biggest advantages a rider can give him or herself is keeping their body hydrated. By keeping the body hydrated you are able to continually train or compete.
While I am sure every rider knows that they should stay hydrated some may be unsure as to the importance of why? It all begins with sweat. Our body temperature is regulated (maintained at 98.6⁰) by the evaporation of our sweat. As we exercise our muscles generate heat which elevates our core body temperature. In order to maintain our body temperature the body begins to release sweat. As our sweat is dissipated from the skin our body begins to cool off. Unfortunately, when we sweat we not only release heat from the body we also release essential electrolytes. Electrolytes are fundamental nutrients that allow for the muscle to continue working. Some of these electrolytes are sodium, chloride, and potassium; which are found in sports drinks. A sports drink is defined as a beverage that not only hydrates but it all restores electrolytes, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that have been depleted due to activity. When sources have not been replaced you can experience signs and symptoms of dehydration such as fatigue, confusion, noticeable thirst, and/ or muscle cramping. Dehydration is defined as an excessive amount of water loss. If one does not replace their fluids then dehydration can progress to the following:
- Heat cramps: involuntary spasms or cramping of active muscles; more commonly occurring in lower extremities and abdomen.
- Heat exhaustion: sudden fatigue that occurs as the body fluids that have been lost through sweating, and is not adequately replaced.
- Heat stroke: this is a medical emergency! The ability to sweat is shut down and your core temperature continues to elevate.
Heat illness and dehydration are easily preventable by keeping the body hydrated. The following are rehydration strategies:
- 2-3 hours before consume 17-20 fluid ounces of water or sports drink
- 10 to 20 minutes before consume 7-10 fluid ounces of water or sports drink
- During training/Competition:
- Every 10-20 minutes you want to consume 7-10 fluid ounces of water or sports drink
- During this time you want to be aware of your weight before and after training/competition because you do not want to lose more than 2% of your body weight through water loss.
- For every pound of weight loss you want to consume 20 fluid ounces of a sports drink.
Just remember by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated! Have fun, stay safe, and keep hydrating.
About the Author: Kristina Miller is a senior at West Virginia University (The home of Racer X). She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in both athletic training and sports and exercise psychology. Her future aspirations are to apply both of these degrees to the sport of motocross. She has been interested in motocross for over three years and hopes to use her love of motocross and turn it into a career working behind the scenes in sports medicine. That's all we really know about the girl - Virtual Trainer
That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.