Dehydration is always a constant threat to the performance demands of a disc golfer. It is always with us wherever we go. Whether you play competitively or casually, the loss of water from our bodies is a constant danger that threatens even the best of our athletic abilities. As an Amateur or Professional, no matter how good you are, without proper fluid intake dehydration will always beat you in the end.
This topic came to my mind with a sense of importance as I recently experienced the weather conditions constantly changing during a round of disc golf and how others consistently asked if I could spare some of my water; naturally I obliged them as I always keep extra bottles of water in my car and in my disc golf bag. (I live in Central Texas and with the ever-changing weather patterns you NEED to be prepared for it all)
Observing these conditions and having a mind that constantly wanders when I am on the course playing a casual round, dehydration came to the forefront and I felt that this would be a good of time as any to share it with you.The Facts On Us
Water in the human body is contained in the tissue, the blood, and the bones. It makes up a significant portion of the body both in volume and weight. It is a very vital portion of our daily living and proper organ functions. By weight, the average man is approximately 60% water or two-thirds by most medical definitions, so any notable loss in that measurement can develop itself from a small nuisance like a headache to a catastrophic event like kidney failure or death.
The Facts On Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when your body loses too much fluid. This can happen when you stop drinking water or lose large amounts of fluid through diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, or exercise. Not drinking enough fluids can cause muscle cramps. You may feel faint. Usually your body can reabsorb fluid from your blood and other body tissues. But by the time you become severely dehydrated, you no longer have enough fluid in your body to get blood to your organs, and you may go into shock, which is a life-threatening condition.
Dehydration can occur in anyone of any age, but it is most dangerous for babies, small children, and older adults. [Source: webmd.com]
(Multiple sources report that on average 75% of people are chronically dehydrated regularly)
From my 13+ years of military training and senior leadership as a US Army Paratrooper I can personally testify that I have seen dehydration take down the fiercest of warriors and the most simplest of average persons. It did not matter what the temperature was, the activity being done. or what was being worn. Dehydration occurs in all conditions.
You do not need my extensive military training or experience to make a difference in helping with this, but your own experiences can help prevent this from happening.
As we are all friends, competitors, disc golfers, and one large “family” we should always be on the lookout and know that we can literally help save someones life.
To detect dehydration, you must know the symptoms. These symptoms can help determine three stages of possible dehydration. The three stages you should be familiar with are: Mild, Moderate, and Severe.
Mild to Moderate…
Thirst, decreased urine volume, abnormally dark urine, unexplained tiredness, irritability, lack of tears when crying, headache, dry mouth, dizziness when standing due to orthostatic hypotension, and in some cases insomnia. [Source: wikipedia.org]
Moderate to Severe…
There may be no urine output at all. Other symptoms in these states include lethargy or extreme sleepiness, seizures, sunken fontanel (soft spot) in infants, fainting, and sunken eyes. The symptoms become increasingly severe with greater water loss. [Source: wikipedia.org]
As with any illness, condition, or injury there is always a preventative measure or step that we can do to avoid the situation(s) entirely. The answer is easy: DRINK WATER to replace what you lose.
Using the attached graphic (near the bottom of this post) as a guide: You should drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before playing, another 8 ounces during your warm-up (or 20 to 30 minutes before the first tee time), 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during the round, and 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes after you have completed your round (perfect time to do it while going over your scores).
Bonus Tip: Drink water to gain an edge on your opponent! It benefits you physically and mentally since it allows you to pause, think, and perform. Just like placing your mini-marker down, wiping your disc, or taking slow-breaths, make it a part of your routine to gain the physical and psychological points on your game against your opponent. You have 30 seconds for the shot and a small drink could save you a stroke and a headache! [pun intended]
The Treatment (In Adults and Children Over 12) [Source: www.webmd.com]
1. Replace Fluids
For mild dehydration or while waiting for medical care for an adult with severe dehydration that is not due to heat stroke:
- The person should try to drink 2 quarts of fluid, such as water, juice, or sports drinks, in 2 to 4 hours. But it is better to drink small amounts of fluid often, because drinking too much fluid at once can bring on vomiting.
- The person should drink at least 10 glasses of liquid a day to replace lost fluids.
- If the person is elderly, fluid replacement may need to be done slowly. Consult a doctor.
- If the person is vomiting, try ice chips, popsicles, and small sips of fluid.
- If the person is recovering from diarrhea, consider that some sports drinks contain a lot of sugar, which can worsen diarrhea.
2. When to Call a Doctor for Mild Dehydration
Seek medical help if:
- The person’s symptoms get worse or don’t improve within 24 hours.
- The person is elderly.
- You think a prescription medication such as a diuretic caused the dehydration.
3. Follow Up
- For mild dehydration, the person should rest for 24 hours and keep drinking fluids, even if symptoms improve. Fluid replacement may take up to a day and a half.
- If dehydration is moderate to severe, fluids may need to be replaced intravenously (IV) in the hospital
IMPORTANT: When in doubt ALWAYS contact Emergency Services to report ANY incident at ANY level that you may witness since the damaging effects may not be visible. If you experience this yourself, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION ALWAYS for immediate aid or follow-up. (We are disc golfers and not trained medical personnel) Keep casualties cool, upright (not consciously laying down), shaded, and under observation until qualified medical officials take over the situation. You are the person who can save their life.
Call 911 if the person has:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry skin, mouth, and mucous membranes
- Little or no urination for 12 hours or more
- Increased heart rate and breathing
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Light-headedness, dizziness, or confusion
- Dehydration due to heat stroke
How To Win
Overall, in the end, water and constant hydration will give you the winning edge over your opponents and any dehydration no matter what your skill level is. We all know our own physical attributes, we all know how far we can go, and we all know what our bodies need. Always have a sports drink, hydration gel pack, nourishing fruits, or simple water readily available while always watching out for each other.
Disc golf is great sport like no other and it is played with passion by everyone who loves to throw plastic, but if we let simple things like the lack of water keep us from our own best performance while risking our lives, then we will always lose more than a simple round.
So as you prepare your mental game for that winning edge make sure your body is ready to win as well.
Play It Forward.
Additional links and information on Camelback’s Hydration Calculator to calculate your own hydration needs (as seen below), please go to: www.camelbak.com and give it a try!