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Hydrate Your Way To Lower Golf Scores
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Hydrate Your Way to Lower Golf Scores

Many golfers do not drink enough water and do not even realise. It is essential that you take on fluids before, during and after golf, especially on a hot, humid or sunny day. If feeling thirsty you are probably already dehydrated and need to replace lost fluids.

Loss of body fluid occurs naturally, as you breathe and sweat. Surprisingly, dehydration is also an issue in winter, as people put on extra clothing and are less inclined to drink. Colds and flu also cause dehydration, which is why doctors tell you to rest and to drink plenty of fluids.

The effects of dehydration on a golfer can be quite severe, as both physical and mental performance deteriorates fast. Did you know that a 2% loss of body fluid reduces performance between 10% - 20%? Here are some common drinks that may help or hinder your golf.

Water

Firstly, make sure you have enough water on board before you start your round of golf. When you play golf or participate in any form of physical exercise, you should always drink more than usual to make up for what you lose during play.

People who do not drink sufficient water are likely to experience side effects, including poor concentration, which leads to erratic golf. As with eating, you should aim to drink regularly rather than relying on drinking large quantities of fluids in a short space of time. Always top up your water levels after play, as water is the engine oil your organs need to function properly.

Sports drinks

Before, during or after golf, nothing could be better than good sports drinks for rehydration and a quick energy burst. If possible, choose isotonic drinks such as Lucozade Sport, Powerade and Gatorade. Sports drinks designed to be absorbed faster than water, replace minerals and sugars lost through breathing and sweating and boost up energy.

Sports waters

Sports waters known as hypotonic drinks and are lower in carbohydrates than sports drinks. These drinks are ideal in cooler weather, when fluid loss is less of a problem. Their taste is also less intense than sports drinks.

Handy tip - mix fruit juice with water for a cost effective alternative.

Alcohol

You have very little chance of playing golf well after drinking alcohol, which is little more than empty calories. It also promotes dehydration, which is not what you want. Alcohol speeds up the heart rate and has a detrimental effect on, concentration, emotional stability, synchronization, reactions and staying power.

As you would expect, none of these things are conductive to a good golf swing or an alert mind. As little as one or two drinks can make a difference, especially if you have not eaten. Food helps to soak up the alcohol and releases it into the blood stream much slower.

If you have had too much to drink the night before, do not assume you will be fit to play the next day. It takes about an hour for the liver to break down each unit of alcohol, so your golf may still be harmed.

Milk

Milk is actually a good drink to take on to the course with you and a nourishing snack. It could be the answer if you are not keen on fruit or oat bars. Milk provides protein and nutrients and is easily absorbed.

Tea and coffee

Many golfers like a hot drink during play, especially in winter. But is it the best thing for you?

Tea and coffee have next to no dietary value and both usually contain caffeine, which increases heart rate. According to some experts they are also diuretics, which promote the eradication of water and salt from the body.

However, recent research has led to this theory being contradicted with some nutritionists now suggesting that tea and coffee is okay if taken in moderation.

A hot drink may make you feel warmer on a cold day, but cannot compete with cold water or sports drinks, which are absorbed quicker and therefore rehydrate your body more efficiently and effectively.

Energise your golf

Invest in a lightweight hydro drinking bottle to keep drinks hot or cold throughout your round. A good one will keep drinks hot for around 12 hours and cold for more than 24 hours.

Minor changes in your drinking and eating habits can lead to favourable changes in your health and in your golfing performance, especially when combined with frequent exercise. Whether playing in your weekend medal or professionally, it is a delicate balance between success and failure. With proper hydration, make your golf more enjoyable, your life healthier and maybe lower your golf scores.


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