Have you been feeling rundown and sluggish during the dog days of summer? Those bursts of poorly struck shots might have more to do with the fact that you’re not drinking enough water on the course than your actual golf skill.
On an average day, your body loses approximately 64 ounces of water. Playing a full round of golf on a hot summer day means you’re likely losing far more fluid than the average person, and failing to replace it can have serious consequences.
CDC research shows that adults in the U.S. only drink an average of 39 ounces of water per day, and data indicates that 75% of Americans are dehydrated, so much so that most of us are deemed “chronically dehydrated.” In this situation, it becomes difficult to tell when our bodies are in need of more water, thus perpetuating the cycle of dehydration.
Being dehydrated, even if only a little bit, can negatively impact your body in many ways, including putting you at risk for overheating on the golf course and affecting your ability to make sound decisions and execute golf shots. All of this adds up to a pretty high score on the course.
What should you drink on the course?
While many of the beverages we enjoy during our time on the golf course taste great and may give us a lift, they don’t exactly help you play better. The high sugar content in sodas, juices and some sports energy drinks can cause high-to-low swings in blood sugar levels resulting in uneven performance.
Drinking alcohol on the course won’t help you play well either both because it’s known to impede your cognitive abilities and motor functions, and because it’s a diuretic that contributes to dehydration. So, what do you need to do to either prevent or alleviate dehydration?
The answer is simple: Drink water!
What’s the secret to proper hydration?
While drinking water sounds like a simple solution, you have to do it correctly. In this case, you have to drink no more than one quart of water per hour to stay hydrated.
If you’re unsure of how much, when or where to drink water, the general rule of thumb is to multiply your body weight (in pounds) by two-thirds to determine how much water you should be drinking.
Should you only drink water?
Drinking water is essential to staying hydrated, but most of the filtered water we drink has been stripped of the minerals we need to help us stay hydrated. That’s where sports drinks like Gatorade that are packed with electrolytes come in handy.
Just be careful not to guzzle the whole bottle, or you’ll fall victim to an energy crash on the course, which is also no good. However, consuming electrolyte-infused water or sports drinks is a great way to help your body.
If you’re looking for some flavorful alternatives to water that will help you stay hydrated, LPGA instructor Dr. Greta Anderson recommends herbal tea, coconut water, electrolyte-infused water or even watermelon.
Maintaining proper hydration is an ongoing process, but getting in the habit of drinking enough water on a daily basis will help you play your best on the course.