Friday, August 03, 2012

Guest Post

Staying Cool on the Greens

During fall, winter and spring, it is easy to take those cool golfing conditions for granted. In the summer, heat is a significant concern that can lead to dehydration and even heat stroke. In order to stay safe on the greens, the first step is being able to recognize the signs of dehydration:

• Thirst
• Lethargy
• Dry skin and lips
• Lightheadedness
• Decreased urine output
• Empty stomach sensation

Some symptoms, like thirst, may seem obvious, but it can be easy to overlook them. In the heat, being slightly thirsty is a warning sign you need to pay attention to. Lack of urine or the sensation of an empty stomach while having eaten can be dangerous indicators.

1. Stay Cool

Schedule early tee times, if possible. If golfing during the hot part of the day, take extra precautions. Consider renting a golf cart. It can keep you cool and help you save a great deal of energy. When there are opportunities for shade, such as tree cover, take advantage of them. An umbrella is an excellent way to carry shade around with you, which is particularly helpful on courses that provide little.

2. Drink Fluids

Drink lots of fluids the day and night before as well as while playing. Frozen water is a great way to have a sustainable supply of cold water, or if you use a cart, bring a cooler full of ice. Regular water should be your main source of hydration. Do not rely on sports drinks. Despite popular perception, these can actually be counterproductive, although they do help when dehydration has already set in.

Note: Alcohol will cause you to dehydrate faster because it requires additional water to metabolize. If you drink, offset that by drinking additional water, but keep in mind that this might cause frequent urination.

3. Eat

A common mistake is not eating, especially since heat can make us feel uncomfortable and not hungry. Power bars and nature bars are an excellent way to sustain energy without causing discomfort.

4. Use Sunscreen and Lip Balm

Sunscreen is more than just sunburn protection. When dehydrating, a great deal of the moisture that we lose is lost through the skin. Sunscreen provides protection against loss of moisture, and lip balm provides similar shelter for the lips.

5. Wear Proper Headwear

The common baseball cap is usually not good enough, since you also need protection for the ears, back of the neck, and sides of the face. A hat with a wide brim is the best option. An alternative is using a visor with sunglasses, but visors usually do not provide enough neck protection.

6. Wear Proper Clothing

Wear clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting. Also, choose clothing of an appropriate color, such as white, and perhaps consider the UV rating, if known. Avoid wearing shorts and sleeves shorter than the elbows.

7. Be Proactive

Most golfers who encounter heat trouble do so because they didn’t pay it any mind. Be proactive. Taking measures to stay comfortable and hydrated will let you have a great time on the course even in the heat. If you’re older or unhealthy in any way, check with a doctor, since it may be best to avoid the heat entirely.

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