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What Are Electrolytes And How Do You Know You Are Getting Enough?

Even though it’s been one of the hottest summers ever, a lot of us have still been playing golf, coming off the course sticky and (yuck) sweaty.  We’ve started early and made sure we drank lots of water.   However, what about those “electrolytes” we keep being told about?  Apparently water alone is not enough.

In this post, I’ll explain just what electrolytes are, why they are important and how to ensure you have adequate levels as you combat 2023’s record breaking summer heat on the golf course.

When playing golf in the summer, the body loses electrolytes through perspiration due to increased physical activity and high temperatures. Replenishing these electrolytes is essential to avoid dehydration and simultaneously maintain optimal physical and mental performance.

Electrolytes are essential minerals with an electric charge that play a crucial role in maintaining proper body function. The primary electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, and phosphate. They directly effect various bodily processes, such as nerve function, muscle contractions, fluid balance, and maintaining the body’s pH level.




IMPORTANT!  Signs of electrolyte deficiency include:

  • muscle cramps
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • irregular heartbeat

Severe and ongoing electrolyte imbalances can lead to more serious health issues.

To ensure proper levels of electrolytes before and during a round of golf in the summer, consider the following:

1. Hydration: Start hydrating well before your round of golf and continue drinking fluids throughout the game (think the night and morning prior to playing).  Water is essential, but including beverages with electrolytes, such as sports drinks or electrolyte-enhanced water, can be beneficial even before you tee off.  Adding powders such ZipFizz, Liquid IV or Pedialyte are also a good idea.  Please note that every product contains different ingredients so please read your labels to make sure you are choosing the best product for you.

2. Balanced Diet: Consume a balanced diet before play that includes foods rich in electrolytes, such as bananas (potassium), nuts and seeds (magnesium), and leafy greens (calcium).  Apples, oranges, bananas and nuts are all easy and great snacks to consume during a round.

3. During Play: Take regular breaks to drink fluids with electrolytes, especially if you are sweating heavily. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty!  Thirst is a late indicator of dehydration.

4. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: This is a biggie and don’t be fooled.  Both contribute to dehydration, so limit their consumption before and during play.

By paying attention to your hydration and electrolyte intake, you will stay properly fueled and perform at your best in this summer’s hot and humid conditions.

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