Are you a young golfer? You are doing a great job!
You’ll want to take special care of yourself, now that you are moving and focusing on your swing! Athlete nutrition is important to your overall well-being as well as your performance. Here are some great ways to stay healthy throughout the seasons:
Hydrate Drinking plenty of water is the most basic and healthy thing you can do for your body! And it’s easy. Keep a safe, BPA free water bottle with your name on it nearby all day. This simple step will keep your muscles hydrated and flexible, while ensuring that nutrients get to where your body needs it most timely. And be sure to keep drinking your water even in colder months. Our bodies still need water when temperatures drop.
Want to avoid cramps? Foods high in potassium are critical to ensuring stable blood pressure in grownups, but they are also a great way to prevent muscle cramps! As you sweat, the body loses minerals and nutrients, and potassium is one of these. If you are already low, “Ouch!” A muscle cramp can pop up and bench you for the rest of the game! Also keep other nutrients, called electrolytes in balance and you’ll be on your way to winning in no time!
Diet Should you follow a ‘special’ diet? This is something your doctor or nutritionist will have to tell you. But a few things to keep in mind… If you are being very active, running, jumping, swinging, walking, things called cardio-vascular activity, then you may need more calories, or carbohydrates often called ‘carbs’. Carbohydrates are our energy building blocks. We need them to have energy when we’re moving around a lot and getting our heart rate up. But if you’re focusing on muscle building, protein is very important. Muscles use proteins and sugars to grow and rebuild. So, if you lift weights, do stretches, or isometric exercises (pushing against stable objects to build muscle – like pushups), then you need more protein before or after those activities.
Rest After all the moving, swinging, walking, and carrying you’re doing, you’ll need rest! Staying up too late will deprive your body of much needed time to repair and renew your muscles, energy, and metabolism (how your body uses calories). Every single body is different but consider 8-9 hours of sleep a day. It’s ok if you need a little more or less, just make sure you get to bed early enough to feel rested when you need to wake up.
Peer Pressure Let’s talk about this for a minute. The people we choose to be around will affect us. They can have a good effect or a bad one. Friends you choose to hang out with can either support your success, or pull you away to things that can make you fail, not just in golf, but in life. Choose your friends wisely. A friend will help you keep good habits (not bad ones), listen when you need, understand when you can’t always hang out, and be there when they can to cheer you on!
Bullying This is very unhealthy, both for the bully and for the one being bullied. If anyone is making you feel uncomfortable, tell your teacher, instructor, and definitely your parents or another authority. Your mind, feelings, and body must all be healthy for you to feel good! Keep swinging to win! You can do it!
-Chef Hadassah Patterson