How Nutrition Can Affect Your Swing

Foods_(cropped)

You Are What You Eat

Today’s post is about nutrition, the nervous system, and how sometimes the issues you have with pain are not always physical, but can be the result of what you eat.

As a Metabolic Typing advisor, I look at the things your body runs well on, the things that make you burn your food as fuel optimally, and the rate at which you convert that fuel. 

Anatomy 101

In times of hunting and gathering, there was a need for our body to shut down every non-essential bodily function in the event that your life was threatened.  This response is known today as the “Fight or Flight” response.  This is a Sympathetic Nervous System Response.

This picture below is a fantastic picture to show you how the SNS attaches to different organs and this is going to be the basis of our discussion today (click to enlarge it).  The green lines that you see attaching themselves firstly to the spine on the left are the nerves, these nerves then ‘innervate’ different organs of the body.  As you can see there is a lot of innervation going on, but with a clear hierarchy.

 ANS_golf_article

The Sympathetic Nervous System has the ability to “turn on” or “turn off different organs in your body.  One example of this is the heart.  You can see from the picture that there is a nerve running on the left hand Sympathetic side to the heart, and also a purple nerve that runs on the right hand Parasympathetic side.  When the Sympathetic side stimulates the heart, the heart rate increases, which pumps more blood around our body at a faster rate, getting it ready to “fight or flee.”  If on the other hand, the Parasympathetic nervous system stimulates the heart, the heart rate slows down, calming it and reducing its work load to be in a more restful and relaxed state.

The two nervous systems work synergistically with each other, to keep your body in a constant state of balance. If your food intake is contradicting what your body needs as a fuel mixture, then you could be shutting off your digestive system by making your body continually think it is in a fight or flight situation, which increases the amount of stress hormones pumped through your body, and eventually your body will decide that it can’t take the constant barrage of stressors and shut down.  This can be the in the form of a cold, chronic pain, inflammation, constipation and many many more.

From the picture you can also see that there is an innervation line from the lower back directly to the digestive system.  If you look at the space of L1 L2, T10-T12 those innervations are directly related to function of the large intestine, the small intestine, the kidneys, the bladder and the genitalia.  Now something to be very considerate of, your digestive system is the engine room for breaking down most of the food and water that you consume. It is in this system that nutrients are distributed into the body, or they are excreted when not absorbed.  If the digestive system is inflamed, the process of absorption is hindered, meaning you could be eating a relatively healthy diet but not getting all of the nutrients that are needed for a balanced, homeostatic body.

What You Should Do

Someone said to me recently a great analogy of inflammation. If you had just hurt your wrist, and it had become swollen, or inflamed, would you then like it if someone place their hand around your wrist and squeezed?  The answer would be no.  That is exactly what is happening when you have an inflamed gut (intestinal tract) and you eat something that is going to inflame it even more.  Using an elimination diet, where you go back to bare min foods and live without gluten, dairy, coffee, etc, for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, and then 1 at a time re-introduce certain foods, is a great way to see if your body is reacting to that food.  You don’t have to have an allergy for a food to cause you major problems.  You can have a slight intolerance to the food which is enough to set your gut into hyper drive, sending pain signals all over the place, and it is all just that 1 or 2 foods you are eating.

It’s important that we understand how our bodies function and that our current rate of evolution has not allowed us to adapt to even 1/4 of the new foods, additives and preservatives that we are constantly using in our diet.

The human genome changes .1% ever 10,000 years, and yet we have created thousands upon thousands of artificial, synthetic and un-natural food additives and processes, that it is physically impossible for our body’s to cope and detoxify everything we are putting in.

If we take our diet back to its primal roots and eat right for our Metabolic Type, then our health will increase and our disease will decrease.

The choice is yours.

How This Connects to Your Swing

The golf swing is one of the most violent, physically demanding movements in all of sports.  To make a consistent, repeatable swing under optimal circumstances is difficult enough, but trying to do it when your body is rebelling against you is practically impossible.  Proper nutrition not only allows your body to have the fuel to make good swings, but it is also key to helping your body recover from a grueling round of golf or long practice session.  On the other hand, if your body is in this “Fight or Flight” condition because of your diet, you will not only lack the proper fuel and fail to recover, but you also run the risk of being in chronic pain.

As I said, the choice is yours: build a diet that is designed to fuel your body or choose one that will destroy it from the inside out.

For more information on Metabolic Typing and nutrition, email Bret at GolfFitPro@FunctionFitPT.com

The following two tabs change content below.
Bret Kennedy is a Strength and Conditioning coach and corrective Exercise specialist. He has devoted the last 2 years of his 8+ year career to helping golfers reduce pain, and increase performance. He has developed a program designed specifically for Golfers to increase spinal strength and mobility, as well as restore full functionality of the body. Pain Free Golf system - functionfitpt.com/painfreegolf.

Latest posts by Bret Kennedy (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*