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Keep hydrated by including electrolytes to the combination

“I have water. I’m fine.” I often hear this comment, whether on the Hautbahn, a bike tour or a long trail run. It also makes sense; As skiers, we have been on the market for caffeinated drinks with a high sugar content for years. So the thought of just drinking water sounds much more appealing. Let’s face it – on some ski days we go from coffee to beer and back again. Adequate hydration is essential for performance and endurance. This means that you are using an electrolyte mixture to help your body do what is lost through intense exercise.

Breanne Nalder Harward, a professional cyclist with awards on the road and on gravel roads, knows this from her own experience. On top of that, she holds a Master of Science in Nutrition and Sports Dietetics from the University of Utah, trains all types of athletes, and her advice is worth paying attention to.

“Adequate hydration is important for both health and athlete performance. The word “appropriate” is chosen here because we want the right amount of water and electrolytes to keep our muscles functioning and to replenish the loss during exercise, “said Harward, MS, RDN, and nutrition coach at PLAN7 Endurance Coaching.

Our body controls the internal temperature through a process called thermoregulation, in which we produce sweat to dissipate heat. When the sweat evaporates from our skin, it cools us down.

“The hotter we get during training, the more sweat we produce. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, premature fatigue, longer recovery times, increased blood pressure and cardiovascular stress, and increases the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and more dangerous heat stroke, ”says Harward.

Starting a well-hydrated exercise is particularly important because dehydration affects performance and overall well-being. This is essential in winter, as the usual signs of dehydration are less obvious – even if you’re not sweaty, your body needs to rehydrate.

Harward notes that while hydration is important, knowing exactly when, what, and how to drink during exercise is equally important. For example, a process in which the body has more water than sodium (an electrolyte lost through sweat) is called hyponatremia and can be a serious, potentially life-threatening problem.

“Think of a glass of water with salt. We want our body to have the right solute to solvent ratio to maintain the needs of our muscles and other organs and tissues (such as the kidneys). “Hyponatraemia can lead to cramps, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, and even cardiac arrest,” explains Harward. We not only have to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes, but also carbohydrates.

“For all of these reasons, we need sports drinks,” she says. “So we need to add electrolytes and calories to our water to improve our performance.”

For short activities (less than 60 minutes) with low to moderate intensity, water is sufficient as long as you are well hydrated in the training.
With moderate intensity (60-90 minutes) 1-2 bottles with added electrolytes are required.
High intensity (more than 45 minutes, especially in the heat) and endurance training (more than 90 minutes) require dietary supplements. At these intensities and long durations, concentrate on 2 bottles per hour, at least one of which contains a mixture of electrolyte and carbohydrates.

Harward also says that sports drinks can also be used for recreation. And while we’re referring to summer and future fall workouts, someone who drives a recreational drink every day has had a positive impact on my ability to chug all week. Sure, I still have an après beer, but I’ll do that after striking a relaxing drink and a bite of food.

With all this knowledge and so many products on the market, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one works best. Harward says to determine your specific fluid needs and find the product that works for you. Not just by numbers (calories, electrolytes, sugar, etc.), but also by taste, taste and tolerance.

“It is very important that you enjoy what you drink because it helps you get exactly what you need for optimal performance,” she says.

With this in mind, below are a few options that we tested, tried, and sweated out last winter and during a recent heat wave. Use this as a guide to determine what works best for you.

This article originally appeared on Powder.com and has been republished with permission.

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