To hit most greens in regulation, youve got to do something that doesnt get as much attention from the galleries: boost your immunity. You certainly have been hearing a lot about the human immune system in the news these days. But, taking care of your immune system can do more than protect you from the swine flu ' it can improve your golf game.
After all, those long sessions at the driving range, intense workouts and the physical rigors of playing competitive golf do take their toll on the human body. Not to mention all of the travel thats involved. Whether you are an amateur golfer or out competing on the PGA Tour, youre likely spend much of your time in airports, airplanes, rental cars and hotels in between rounds. All of this can wear you down and impair your performance on the course, or prevent you from making your tee time in the first place.
Thats where the immune system comes in. Like a good caddy, your immune system can keep you from getting into trouble in the first place. You see, when it is given the right raw materials, your body can do even more amazing things than Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines. It is a well-known fact that having a strong immune system is a critical way to avoid being overcome by pathogenic viruses and bacteria.
Research confirms that the Standard American Diet (SAD) combined with poor sleep and a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for compromised immunity. Conversely, people with good diets and active lifestyles are seldom sick. When they do become ill, such people recover much faster than their peers with poor diets and inactive lifestyles.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following to prevent the spread of germs and flu: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. In my book Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality, I go into great detail on how to understand and successfully manage these topics: Hydration, Nutrition, Exercise, Stress, Sleep, Environmental Hazards and Meditation and Prayer.
Of course, if you take the game of golf seriously, it is likely that you already have an active lifestyle. The problem is that it may be too active for your own good. While some exercise can improve your immune function, too much exercise can actually suppress it. Overtraining can break down your system, causing illness and injury. Studies have even revealed that prolonged exercise can have the same type of effect on the human immune system as surgical trauma, physical and thermal injury, sepsis and extreme psychological distress.
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to listen to your body. If you are a feel player, you already pay attention to your body in order to make the necessary corrections to your golf swing. This is a good start, but it wont help you protect your immune system. You need to pay close attention to your level of fatigue and adjust your workout schedule accordingly. Try to anticipate stress in advance, and go easy on your body on travel days. Some warning signs that your immune system is starting to break down include, interrupted sleep patterns, moodiness or depression, excessive muscle soreness, trouble concentrating, changes in appetite, and general feelings of lethargy.
It is always difficult for athletes to balance their training and fitness goals with proper care of the immune system. Surprisingly, many athletes are also malnourished, Athletic people may feel that all of the exercise they do excuses them from having to eat well, or sometimes they think the sports supplements will do the trick. The truth is that there is just no substitute for proper rest and good nutrition. Antioxidants and proper nutrition speed up recovery and enhance immunity, helping you avoid sickness.
If you are trying to support your immune system, here are a few high-impact steps to get you in the swing of things:
Increase your intake of fish oil, omega 3 (EPA & DHA) together with vitamins D3 and vitamin A. Most people are deficient in all three and all three have been shown to significantly enhance immunity. Supplementing your diet with these power nutrients is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do today to boost immunity. (If you do become sick, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, a Chicago Physician recommends 50,000 IU of vitamin D for 3-5 days and many recommend 50,000 IU of vitamin A each day for the same period)
Eat in accordance with The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition which are: 1. Eat nutrient-dense lower calorie foods. 2. Minimize sugar and eat low Glycemic foods. 3. Consume high-antioxidant superfoods and supplements. 4. Eat and supplement with superfats (including omega 3, olive, chia seed, coconut, almond, macadamia).
Add 3+ servings of fresh vegetables per meal and some fresh fruit.
Replace a daily meal with a high-protein SuperSmoothie.
Eat plenty of garlic, onions, oregano, coconut, hot peppers and spices. Extracts and oils of these nutrients can be extremely effective.
Wash your hands frequently.
Avoid places with high risk of infection such as doctors offices, clinics and hospitals.
Avoid flu shots and other vaccinations.
Avoid or minimize medications.
Avoid highly processed junk foods, fried foods and sugar. This includes many of the items you might find in the clubhouse restaurant or beverage cart, such as sandwiches, baked goods, cookies, crackers, donuts, french fries, hot dogs, ice cream, pizza, potato chips, waffles and other processed foods that contain flour and/or sugar and many other impurities. These types of foods are enemies of sustained energy, performance and immunity. Recent research shows that a single serving of refined carbohydrates given to a lean, healthy young adult is enough to triple their inflammatory response to the surge in blood glucose.
Avoid overeating which can cause inflammation and compromise immunity.
Eat cultured foods such as yogurt and kefir and take pre-biotics, probiotics.
Before long, these steps will become a regular part of your life, just like your pre-shot routine. Taking proper care of your immune system can lead to improved performance on and off the golf course, enhanced immunity, lower scores and improved quality of life.
EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.