Dehydration negatively affects performance, but a new wearable hydration tracker could help you to avoid it.
The LVL hydration monitor also tracks heart rate, sleep and activity levels - and is being funded via a Kickstarter page live now.
Metrics can be displayed on a mobile phone, or cycling computer such as a Garmin. The unit can tell you how much you need to drink to restore hydration, which could prove useful for amateurs and the pro peloton.
Why track hydration?
According to BSX Technologies, 75 per cent of the American population is chronically dehydrated and we doubt the figure differs much in the UK. They also say that studies have shown hydrating by thirst alone only accounts for 30 to 70 per cent of sweat lost. Waiting until you feel thirsty to drink isn't good enough.
Since dehydration by less than 2 per cent can lead to a performance drop of almost 6 per cent, it is important to know when your levels are low. Being low on water content can also cause you to overeat, and slow down your reaction times - just like alcohol does.
How does it work?
BSX Technologies are responsible for the LVL wrist band. Dustin Freckleton and Nithin Rajan founded the company: Freckleton suffered a stroke due to dehydration just before his 25th Birthday, and later graduated from the University of Texas Medical School. Rajan is a mathematician MBA who has worked on several inventions.
The watch uses a near-infrared light (often used in hospitals) to measure physiologic signals. An algorithm then predicts the current health and fitness state of the wearer. The system matches the performance of gold-standard techniques such as blood tests, urine sampling, and other medical imaging techniques. It even tracks body weight changes within an accuracy window of 5 per cent.
Currently - the watch tracks:
- Heart rate,
- Calorie intake,
Potential future developments could see respiratory rate, blood oxygen, muscle oxygen, and lactate threshold measured. These could all prove useful for athletes in training and racing.
We certainly think this development could prove useful for everyday riders and even pro riders too. Just imagine the Boels-Dolmans team car shouting from their radios: "Oi, Lizzie, you need to drink 25oz NOW, or you WILL lose the break!"
The LVL band is an American invention but you can order one for $119 (£90) to be shipped anywhere in the world - here.
Dehydration isn't good news for athletes - read more about the warning signs here.