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4855 E. Warner Road #10
Phoenix, Arizona 85044
480-598-6778

Store Hours:

Sunday            11am-5pm
Monday           10am-6pm
Tuesday           Closed
Wednesday     10am-6pm
Thursday         10am-7pm
Friday              10am-6pm
Saturday         9am-5pm

Summer Training: Limiting Dehydration & Preventing Heat Exhaustion/Stroke

Presented by Jeff Lockwood, Life Sport Inc.

In a previous Curbside Newsletter (Feb 2011), the 1st rule of dehydration prevention was simply stated “drink while riding”.  Sounds easy but issues like personal bike handling skills, wind, traffic, and riding in groups may cause you to skip drinking as often as needed.  So when should you drink on a ride?  EARLY and OFTEN!  Technically this means 6 oz. every 15 minutes or a full bottle per hour.
Fluids off the bike
Now that the heat is upon us dehydration and heat illness can become very serious and it can all happen much sooner than you might expect.  According to Dr. Cedric Bryant, PhD in Physiology, one contributing condition is called hypo-hydration: dehydration induced prior to exercise.  Pay attention to fluid intake throughout your day and before going to bed.  The goal for every cyclist is to have clear urine flow before going to bed.  With the intense heat, the morning hours are the best and only time to train outside.  Drink at least 8 oz. before leaving on your training ride. 
Fluids on the bike
Once temperatures outside exceed body temperature (98.6°) the body is inefficient at cooling during training.  This means all intervals of an anaerobic nature should be conducted before temperatures exceed 99°.  To help aid in maintaining core temperature use cold drinks or ice in your bottles.  There is no need to put multiple bottles on your bike if they all become as hot as the outside temperature.  Scientific studies show that fluid absorption is improved with cold drinks.  Instead of riding straight through with 3 or 4 hot water bottles, your training effect will actually improve by stopping more frequently at convenience stores to refill your bottle with ice water (AZ state law permits getting free tap water).   Scientific studies have also shown that core temperature maintenance is one of the strongest indictors for potentiating performance.
Heat Tolerance
Heat acclimation does have a place in the overall equation for managing heat stress and dehydration. Dr. Bryant says the best method for acclimating to the heat is to exercise aerobically in a hot environment.  So if you are starting to ride in the heat, ride easy whereby you can breathe comfortably and retain the ability to talk in full sentences without having to catch your breath.  It takes most healthy people 10-14 days to fully acclimate to hot environments, although illness and alcohol consumption have been shown to slow the process.  Through this process, heart rate and body temperature at a given exercise intensity decrease, sweating rate increases, and sweat becomes more dilute.  It should also be noted that the benefits of heat acclimation are lost quite rapidly when an individual stops exercising in heat conditions. In general, with each two days of abstaining from heat exposure, one day of acclimation is lost. Thus, after three to four weeks without heat exposure, an individual should be considered unacclimated.  After even short periods without heat exposure (e.g., weekends, vacations or short periods of illness), risks during heat exposure due to de-acclimation can be substantial.