Water is essential to life and makes up 60% of our bodies. It has many different roles in the body that can be affected by how much water we have available. Considering a hydration strategy when golfing is important but when golfing in the heat, it becomes essential.
We lose water through respiration, perspiration and urination. Any type of exercise or sport activity done in the heat, such as golf, speeds up the rate of water loss making it more important to not only hydrate with water but to also replace electrolytes.
Water’s many roles include transporting nutrients to the cells, carries waste products away from cells, lubricates the joints, regulates the body’s temperature and supplies minerals to the body. Some of those minerals are electrolytes.
Electrolytes help regulate muscle contractions (your heart is a muscle) as well as help keep you hydrated, help balance pH levels and control the central nervous system. We lose electrolytes with the water that comes out of our body; replacing them can be critical not only for health but also for golf performance.
We know why water is important but how do we go about hydrating properly? Fluid balance or proper hydration is similar to energy balance (food intake vs output). It is important to avoid fluid imbalance for health as well as sport performance. These four easy steps will help you to hydrate daily before and after your practice or round.
1. Determine how much water you need to drink on a daily basis by using this equation:
One of the easiest way to determine how much water you need is by body weight. This would be the basic amount you need daily without exercise.
*Yes, you’ll need to find a metric converter like this one to do the math.
Water Needs: 30 – 40 mL of water per 1 kg of bodyweight (*this is a base number - additional water will be needed for activity as well). Example: if you weigh 50 kg (110 lb), you would need 1.5 L – 2 L of water per day.
2. Pre-hydration - Drinking about 2 cups of water BEFORE intense exercise begins ensures adequate hydration to start.
3. During Exercise – 1 cup (8 ounces) of water mixed with electrolytes (about 3/4 water to 1/4 electrolyte) every 15 minutes approximately. Examples of electrolytes include Gatorade, Powerade, coconut water, Electromix, or Nuun (there are many others to choose from as well. It’s important to read labels and choose a product based on your own personal needs.)
4. After Exercise – Fluid intake is required to assist in recovery. Recovering with a mix of water, protein and carbs is a great idea in addition to electrolytes if needed.
Formula: Approximately 15g of protein, 30g of carbs, electrolytes and water.
I hope this information is helpful. Special thanks to my personal trainer who took the time to explain the specifics so I can share them.