We hear it all the time: Make sure you drink enough water! Stay hydrated! But does drinking enough water and staying hydrated really make a difference?
A recent study was done to see if there was a relationship between mild dehydration and whether or not it affects the neurophysiological function negatively while playing golf. The participants were asked to warm up and then randomly given 9,7 or 5-irons to hit balls at various designated targets. They were asked to estimate the distances and their judgement was used to assess their golf-cognitive abilities.
First, the tests were done when the participants were fully hydrated. 7 days later, they reassessed them while they were in a dehydrated state.
Results showed that when the golfers were mildly dehydrated, their motor performance significantly decreased and their judgments were consistently off as compared to when they were hydrated.
Dehydration & back pain.
Dehydration could also be linked to back pain that you may be feeling. When we are dehydrated, our muscles begin to create and collect lactic acid. This causes stiffness and soreness and when our muscles are tired and stiff, it can even pull bones out of place and cause misalignments in the spine. In fact, ninety percent of problems and symptoms can be attributed to chronic dehydration. Everything from allergies to weight control can be fixed with consuming more water.
Between each of our vertebrae lies a disc. These discs act as shock absorbers for all the movement and pressure we put on our backs every day. The disc is made primarily of water. The water in our discs are slowly squeezed out over time and during the day, gravity pulls the water out. At night when we are lying down, these discs rehydrate. When there is not enough water for the discs to rehydrate throughout the day and night, it disc becomes compromised and it cannot support the load we put on our back. This means that even the simplest of movements like flexion and extension of the back can result in pain, swelling or even ruptures and herniation’s of the disc.
If you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
So, how do we stay hydrated? Back to the golfer – Research has shown that a golfer should drink about one and a half litres of water during a round. In Malaysia, 2-3 litres is recommended because of the hot and humid conditions. This is on top of the average 2 litres of water we should already be drinking per day.
At Healthworks, we see many golfing clients and have helped them improve their games tremendously – good hydration is an easy start. Feel free to come in for an appointment or catch my other articles in Golf Malaysia magazine.