All riders know how important it is to stay hydrated during your rides. But water alone may not be enough to replenish the electrolytes you lose through sweat. Electrolytes are minerals that help regulate fluid balance, muscle contraction, nerve function and blood pressure. While sweating, you lose electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
That's where rehydration tablets come in. Rehydration tablets are effervescent tablets that dissolve in water and provide a convenient and portable way to hydrate with electrolytes. They usually contain low or no calories and sugar, unlike some sports drinks that can be high in both.
Rehydration tablets can help prevent dehydration, cramps, fatigue and headaches that can affect your performance and enjoyment on the bike. They can also help you recover faster after a hard ride by restoring your fluid and electrolyte balance.
Many brands and flavours of rehydration tablets are available on the market, so how do you choose the best one for you? Here are some factors to consider:
Sodium content: Sodium is the most important electrolyte for cyclists because it helps retain fluid and prevent hyponatremia (low blood sodium). Look for rehydration tablets containing at least 200mg of sodium per tablet or 500 ml of water.
Other electrolytes: Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are also important for muscle function and heart health. Look for rehydration tablets that also contain a balanced mix of these electrolytes.
Taste: Rehydration tablets come in various flavours such as lemon, orange, berry and grapefruit. Choose a flavour that appeals to you, and you can drink without getting bored or nauseous.
Price: Rehydration tablets vary in price depending on the brand, quantity and quality. Compare prices per tablet or per serving to find the best value for your money.
Rehydration tablets are easy to use: Drop one or two into a bottle or glass of water (depending on your preference), wait for them to fizz up and dissolve completely (usually within a few minutes), then drink up before, during or after your ride.
They are not a substitute for water; they enhance hydration by adding electrolytes. You should still drink plenty of plain water throughout the day and especially before your ride to avoid starting dehydrated.
Rehydration tablets are also not a substitute for food; they do not provide any significant amount of carbohydrates or protein your body needs for energy and recovery. You should still eat a balanced diet that includes complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats before, during and after your ride.