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Clay Anderson

Whether you’re a scratch golfer or a novice, there’s one lesson from golf professionals everyone can learn – hydrate the right way when you’re on the course and you can play better.

Whether you’re a scratch golfer or a novice, there’s one lesson from golf professionals everyone can learn – hydrate the right way when you’re on the course and you can play better.

Walking the Course

and Burning Calories

The average golf course is around 6,000 yards long. If you walk from tee to green on all 18 holes, you can cover nearly 3.5 miles per round. If the course has hills and some change in elevation, walking up and down those inclines burns even more calories.

The number of calories you burn in any exercise depends primarily on your weight and the intensity of the activity. For example, a 190-pound man who pulls his golf cart should burn around 431 calories an hour, while someone who weighs 130 pounds would burn about 295 calories.

According to one study by the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, adult male golfers, aged 26 to 61, with handicaps from 2 to 17, burned between 1,400 – 1,500 calories walking 18 holes, either carrying clubs or pushing a cart. That’s a fair amount of calories to burn over a 4-hour period, the average time it takes to play 18 holes. If you’re playing on a hot day, you’re losing more than calories – you’re losing lots of water through perspiration.

Staying Hydrated

and Your Swing

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Why is staying properly hydrated important to your swing and your game? When you get dehydrated your muscle coordination, balance, and concentration suffers – all key ingredients in a good swing and playing your best golf. Fatigue sets in, legs get weak and your shots suffer. So what are the best choices for hydration?

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks

When is a sports drink appropriate? Sometimes we need sports drinks and sometimes we don’t. Unfortunately, due to marketing, they are often used more than they should be. Sports drinks are only needed if you are working out very hard (full court basketball, competitive running), for sustained periods (an hour or more), and dripping with sweat (hot days or high intensity exertion). When a player passes out from heat exhaustion on very hot day, the prevention and treatment for the problem can be a sports drink. Otherwise, they are generally just a lot of sugar and unneeded calories – counter-productive if part of the reason you are golfing is to get some exercise and burn off a few calories.

What about energy drinks? Regular-calorie energy drinks are not only loaded with sugar, but caffeine. Bad enough for adults, but the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises against energy drinks for kids under 18. Energy drinks often far exceed acceptable levels of caffeine and even add other stimulants like guarana and taurine. They might give you a quick fix, but they can also cause a crash later on – not a good idea if you’re trying to play your best golf.

Water: a Golfer’s Best Friend

Water is the perfect hydration choice for a golfer because it quenches your thirst without any of the downsides of sports and energy drinks, it’s less expensive (in some cases, free from course water fountains), and it does your body good. Health experts say if you want to improve your health, drink water and take a walk. Walk the course and drink water while you play and you can truly say you play golf to improve your health!

To learn more about healthy beverage choices visit Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln at http://www.healthylincoln.org/initiatives/bevinit/beverage-facts.html

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