6 Easy Steps to Stay Hydrated on the Course
- Start your day with 16oz of water.
- Intake a daily minimum of half your bodyweight in ounces (a 200-pound body gets 100 ounces of water).
- Consume 50% of your daily water on the golf course.
- Increase your water consumption if you are really sweaty; participate in more activity than usual; or based on environment (hot, cold, altitude, humidity, etc.)
- Pay attention to the cues from your body to add more water during a round or after for better recovery.
- Add a little bit of salt to your water when you are playing to replace electrolytes during a round when you are losing lots of fluids.
Dehydration is a golf performance killer. It can reduce your power output, cloud your focus, and expose you to a higher risk of injury. Drinking water is a simple thing and it can help your body perform its best on the golf course. So, how much water do you need to drink on a daily basis? Half your bodyweight in ounces is the common recommendation. So, if you weigh 200 pounds you would need 100 ounces of water in a day. Now that recommendation is built on surviving not thriving. If you add in activity, heat, lots of talking, and environmental conditions (high altitude, humidity, or dryness), then chances are you need more water.
Here is an interesting fact. When you wake up in the morning your body will be dehydrated 12 - 20oz of fluid just from breathing during sleep and the humidity/dryness of your environment. Start your day each morning by drinking 16oz of water to replace your fluids. Drinking 16oz of coffee does not count as water. Water is water. Coffee, tea, juices, and other beverages do not count in that daily water total. It can be helpful to carry a stainless steel canteen with you to work to have a better sense of how many ounces of water you are consuming. So, if our 200 pound example has a 32oz water bottle s/he will need to fill it and drink it a little more than 3 times in a day. It might seem like alot but when you spread it out over the course of your day from waking to ‘lights out’, it isn’t that much.
It is common for golfers to drink gatorade, powerade, or other electrolyte replacement beverages during a round of golf. There is a time and a place to add some electrolytes to your body, but most of the time you don’t need them on the golf course. ‘Gatorade’ would be a good idea if you were playing soccer or basketball for a minimum of 45 minutes. However, we would suggest eliminating sweetened electrolyte replacement beverages. They are not real food. They contain dyes, preservatives, and chemicals that make them taste good. Instead, all you need to do is add a little pinch of sea salt to your water to gain the same effects of a ‘gatorade-type’ beverage. Seriously, just a little sea salt. Not enough that you taste it. It shouldn’t be salty, but the water may have a softer feel to your mouth.
If you insist on consuming ‘gatorade’, it would be most appropriate on a hot day when you are walking the course and losing a lot of fluids, you know when you are really sweaty. Traveling to play golf at altitude will dehydrate you and playing in the desert will dry you out. When your body is dehydrated your cognition is affected. Keep your brain sharp so you can make good decisions on the golf course and handle challenging situations. It will take some experimentation but if you are playing in the desert or heading to higher altitude, plan to drink extra water.
When your body becomes dehydrated it decrease your power output.
According to a study of how ‘Active Dehydration Impairs Upper and Lower Body Anaerobic Muscular Power’; it was found that the dehydrated group (dehydrated by 2.9% of their body mass) lost 14.48% peak power in the upper body and 18.36% in the lower body. Fatigue increased by 70% in the dehydrated group. Fatigue leads to poor technique and a higher risk of injury. As a golfer you are a power athlete. Stay hydrated so you can create as much power as possible.
How do you know if you are dehydrated? Your body will give you some clues. If you are drinking water and you have not peed in a long time that could be a sign of dehydration. When you do pee your urine is dark yellow, bordering on orangish you are likely dehydrated. Get a steady flow of water going until your urine is a more light yellow color. If you are experiencing dizziness, headaches, and difficulty focussing that may also indicate dehydration. If you have a couple of beers during your round, you should also increase your water consumption. Alcohol increases dehydration, sorry but it’s true.
Here is a link the abstract of the article, Active Dehydration Impairs Upper and Lower Body Anaerobic Muscular Power