Do you ever feel extra thirsty, dizzy, or weak while out on the course?
It could be dehydration, a condition by which your body is losing more water than it is taking in.
Here’s the real problem, many golfers go out with their friends for a round and drink a few beers or maybe a soda or something of that nature. And you may think, I’m drinking fluid I’ll be ok. You may be drinking fluid but an alcoholic or a caffeinated beverage can decrease your ability to play the game. How does this happen?
Alcohol and caffeine both have diuretic effects. And those effects are the production of more urine. According to Dr. Robert Swift and Dr. Dena Davidson, alcohol’s diuretic effect is fairly significant: drinking the equivalent of 50 grams of alcohol in about 8 ounces of water — in other words, drinking four 2-oz. shots of liquor — can result in the elimination of up to 1 quart of liquid as urine.1 One quart is equal to 32 ounces. Right there you can see a difference in the amount coming in and the amount going out.
What about caffeine? While the diuretic effects of caffeine may be less than that of alcohol, it has another effect. Caffeine can cause urinary frequency because it irritates the bladder, resulting in spasms of the bladder wall that are perceived by the person as an urge to urinate.1 Mix the extra urge to urinate with the diuretic effect and you have a bad combo.
Now throw on top of that the nature of golf being outdoors and the weather being warmer, you can see how after a few hours of playing golf can add up to a dangerous mix.
One study in 2012 by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that mild dehydration significantly impaired motor performance expressed as shot distance and off-target accuracy.2
How can you tell if you are dehydrated?
One of the easiest ways is to look at the color of your urine. You can generalize by thinking you want your urine slightly yellow and clear. The darker it is to more you are dehydrated.
What other roles does water play in the body?
- Water carries nutrients and waste products through the body
- Water acts a lubricant and cushion in the joints
- Water helps to maintain blood volume
- Water also helps to regulate body temperature
- And that’s just a few of the other uses
So what can you do to combat this, and make sure your golf game is up to par?
Here are some strategies to go stronger for longer:
- Drink extra in the morning
- If you must drink alcohol while on the course, drink water between each alcoholic beverage
- If you are on the course for hours make sure to drink something with some carbs in it as well, like Gatorade
- Rehydrate when you are done with your round
- You should be trying to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Now make sure to stay hydrated and enjoy yourself!
- Casa, Douglas J., Lawrence E. Armstrong, Susan K. Hillman, S, Scott J. Montain, Ralph V. Reiff, Brent S.E. Rich, William O. Roberts, and Jennifer A. Stone. “National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for Athletes.”Journal of Athletic Training35.2 (2000): 212-24. Web.
- 2. Smith, Mark F., Alex J. Newell, and Mistrelle R. Baker. “Effect of Acute Mild Dehydration on Cognitive-Motor Performance in Golf.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26.11 (2012): 3075-080. Web.