The brain is often associated with the mental game of golf, but it obviously it the central force behind both your mental game and your physical game. Taking care of your brain is as important as anything to great golf.
We have detailed in the past the fact that many golfers are dehydrated, but the effects of dehydration are much greater than many people know.
Your brain, like your body, is mostly water. When you’re dehydrated, the loss of water literally shrinks the volume of your brain. This effect is obvious whenever you have a dehydration-related headache.
Before the headaches start kicking in, even mild or temporary dehydration can impact your decision making, mood, and alter brain function. A 2013 study researched 20 women in their mid-20’s who were deprived of all beverage for 24 hours straight. While there were no clinical abnormalities, a number of somatic effects were recorded such as increased heart rate, fatigue, and confusion, along with decreased alertness. These effects were quickly alleviated after drinking water.
While the study used participants who were much more dehydrated than the average golfer, the same effects become apparent much quicker than 24 hours, especially when you’re out in the sun or moving around.
To prevent brain shrinkage that causes a multiple of negative effects, make sure you constantly drink enough water before and during competition. This will allow you to have a balanced mood, less fatigue, better decision making, and finer muscle movements.
Who does dehydration effect?
We’ve found a large number of dehydrated golfers, including players of all kinds and skill levels.
Dehydration can be cumulative and build over time. According to a Harvard study, more than half of all American children are dehydrated. Golfers and other youth athletes are no exception. The study also adds that about 1 in every 4 children in the U.S. don’t drink water daily (they drink sugary drinks instead). It also found that boys were much more likely to be dehydrated than girls.
Regardless, the physical and psychological effects of inadequate hydration effects many golfers, preventing them from reaching their peak potential.
Many people don’t know they’re dehydrated, so they don’t take steps to address it. As soon as you start feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and experiencing some negative effects.
Your Golf Suffers When You’re Dehydrated
Your entire body is effected when you’re dehydrated, including an imbalance in your body’s equilibrium. Over long periods of mild dehydration, your metabolism slows and you start losing athletic ability. Studies have found that with just a 2% decrease in your body’s fluids, you’ll find a 10% decrease in athletic performance.
If you want consistent performance and fine tuned athleticism, you need to pay attention to your hydration and overall golf fitness. Start by drinking pure water every day, and continue drinking throughout competition, especially on sunny days.
Remember this: Your blood is 85% water, your muscles have 80% water, your brain is 75% water, and your bones even have 25% water. While the amount of water you need will vary, it’s important to remain hydrated.
For reasons why many golfers don’t drink water and our explanation of why you should, check out our previous hydration article.
For more about the original dehydration study, see this article: https://www.organicconsumers.org/…/how-dehydration-affects-…