When the heat is on make sure you hydrate


By John Steinbreder
Dehydration is a major concern for recreational golfers of all ages and abilities, and they need to take extra care when they are playing during the summer.
According to GolfersMD expert Dr. Vijay Vad, a sports medicine specialist and researcher at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, dehydration starts to become a real concern when temperatures climb above 85 degrees and the humidity is more than 85 percent. And if golfers haven't taken in enough fluids before and during their rounds ' or if they have drunk too many alcoholic or caffeinated beverages ' they can start to experience the problems of heat exhaustion, which includes cramping, nausea and light-headedness as well as losses of energy and focus. That is not in and of itself a life-threatening condition. But heat stroke is, and heat exhaustion can suddenly morph into that if golfers are not careful.
Dr. Vad suggests that the best way to combat the possibility of those problems is through proper hydration. And you can ensure that by drinking about six ounces of water every 15 minutes or so during an 18-hole round of golf, he says.
Just as important in his view is pre-hydration, which entails drinking plenty of fluids the night before you play as well as before your round. Ideally, you should drink 12 ounces of fluids 90 minutes before your round and then another 12 ounces half an hour before you step to the first tee, he adds.
Dr. Vad also recommends that players not drink alcohol or caffeine during their rounds, and that they pay even closer attention to pre-hydration if they have been out drinking the night before. It also helps to get in the shade when you can, and if you are wearing a hat, take it off every hole for a minute or two. Sixty percent of your body heat is lost through your head, and having a hat on all the time can slow down the release of that heat.
According to GolfersMD expert Susan Hill, a golf fitness and nutrition coach who trains top amateur and professional golfers, another way to prevent problems with high heat and humidity is to consume performance sports beverages designed to keep you hydrated in even the toughest conditions. You see these at tour events all the time, she says, and one of the most popular is a product called Amino Vital. A powder that is mixed with water, it is designed to hydrate the body very quickly and can not only help stave off cramps and nausea but also enhance endurance and keep the mind more focused.
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