Hydrate or die trying

Why keeping well hydrated is essential to riding your bike. Greater mind power, less inflammation, better food delivery and more muscle power.

>>> Buyer’s guide to the best hydration packs

Claudio Caluori looking muscly (okay, so it’s body armour)

1. More muscle power

Muscle tissue is 75% water, so depleting this content will mean they contract more slowly and become fatigued more quickly. Pedal-pushing leg muscles will have less power and you could get an electrolyte imbalance too. Becoming dehydrated also slows down vital reaction times, which is really bad news for reading the trail.

2. Better food delivery

Nutrients for your body and waste material from the muscles are transported in your bloodstream, but when you get dehydrated your blood gets thicker and flows more slowly. So when your blood slows down, you slow down. Not drinking enough water will also slow your food digestion, so any trail snacks you scoff to keep you riding will be less effective.

>>> What post-ride grub would you get from a petrol station with a tenner?

3. Less inflammation

Biking is a big impact sport, which is great for your building up your bone density. It’s common to get inflamed joints, muscles and ligaments from mountain biking though, but drinking more water can help fight against it. Your joints are lubricated by cartilage and synovial fluid, both of which are largely made up of water, while not drinking enough water can cause any muscle aches you have to worsen.

4. Greater mind power

Improved concentration, focus and memory are all yours if you drink more water. A lack of water can cause lack of focus, memory problems, headaches, sleep issues, anger, depression… the list goes on. It’s all because brain cells need twice as much energy as other cells in your body, and it’s water that carries this energy into your cells.