Dehydration can be a major issue for Australian golfers in summer. Blow out scores on the back nine can be just one of the very much unwanted symptoms of failing to keep up adequate fluid intake.
This article will give you information and simple tips on avoiding a drop in fluid levels that can seriously affect your concentration and performance.
Merely waiting to drink till you feel thirsty is not the answer. By the time you are feeling thirsty on the course you are already experiencing the first symptoms of dehydration.
Some early symptoms are:
- General fatigue
- Muscle ache and fatigue
- Light headedness
- Heat intolerance
Sally Girvan, a Dietician associated with the Melbourne Golf Injury Clinic, says our bodies are made up of 60 percent water and when this level decreases even by a small amount it can greatly effect our bodily functions.
Girvan says dehydration of only one to two percent can effect your concentration, decision-making skills and impair your performance by as much as five percent and this can make a huge difference to your scorecard.
When you exercise your muscles generate heat that must be dissipated. We sweat to cool our bodies down by evaporation. If this fluid is not replaced dehydration occurs and if this continues heat stroke is the ultimate outcome.
F1uid requirements are increased if you are physical1y fit, if the playing conditions are hot, humid and windy, and if you are nervous. They all make you sweat more. People, exercising in the same conditions, sweat at different rates. On average people lose 500 to 1000ml of sweat per hour. This fluid needs to be replaced if you want to play to the best of your ability.
Girvan provides the following advice:
Are you getting enough fluids?
Your intake of fluids is adequate when you are playing if:
- You do not feel thirsty
- You weigh the same before and after the game (see below)
- Your urine remains a pale straw colour during and after the game
- Try to estimate your fluid requirements under
different weather conditions during training.
How to estimate your fluid loss:
- Weigh yourself before and after you play
- Weigh yourself in minimal clothing
- Towel yourself dry
- Any weight change is due to loss a of fluid, not fat
- For every kilogram of weight lost a deficit of one litre of fluid has occurred
(i.e. a litre more of fluid has been lost via sweat than replaced by fluids consumed)
- 1kg = 1 litre of fluid
- To replace one litre of fluid you need to drink 1.5 litres of fluid
Drinks, how much?
- Establish and maintain a habit that best suits you.
- Estimate during training your fluid requirements and a regime for drinking that supplies these requirements.
- Ensure you are well hydrated before you exercise.
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids the day before, and that you have re-hydrated after exercise.
- Have a drink 10-15 minutes before you start exercising of about 250mls
- The stomach empties 1000 m1s per hour so this is probably the maximum you can drink and still feel comfortable. Try to train yourself to drink between 150 to 250mls every 15 to 20 minutes.
- What suits others may not suit you, some golfers drink a small amount at the end of every hole or second hole while others feel more comfortable with a larger volume every 3rd or 4th.
- Concentrate on hydrating adequately in the two hours post exercise. For every kilogram you have lost in weight you need 1.5litres to correct the fluid balance.
What you should drink?
- WATER is fine, and is usually freely available. If water is your main fluid you will need to consume some solids to provide you with energy.
- SRORTS DRINKS are good because they also provide you with a good source of carbohydrates for energy; it should contain between 4 to 8 Gms of carbohydrate per l00mIs of fluid to maximise the rate of absorption from the stomach.
- FRUIT JU1CE, SOFT DRINKS AND CORDIAL are too high in sugar for the fluid to be readily absorbed. They need to be diluted 50/50 with water or alternate drinks with water
DON’T RELY on adequate drinks being provided;
always take your own drink bottle!
- HALF FILL your bottle with your preferred drink and freeze. When required top up the rest of the bottle. This will keep your drink cool all day.
- AVOID Tea, coffee, Cola Soft Drinks and Alcohol before during and immediately after a game, because they act as Diuretics i.e. they make you urinate more frequently.
- ALCOHOL should be avoided also because it impairs your concentration, co-ordination and reflexes Alcohol interferes with hydration and recovery.