GOLF: IS IT A GOOD EXERCISE?
by Dr. Brian S. Seaman, DC, FCCSS(C), FICC
Golf: Is it a good exercise?
With the warmer weather, everyone is getting
out to walk and walking is good for us. The parks
and trails are certainly more inviting since the snow
is long gone, and many of the flowers and shrubs are
in full bloom. A walk can be relaxing and give you time
to think in a world which is often too busy, with a
lot of demands. It is always a challenge to balance,
family, children (and grandchildren!) along with jobs
and various other activities. But walking is an excellent
exercise. A brisk walk of 30 minutes, at least three
times a week, will benefit your heart, lungs, circulation
in your legs and it helps to maintain your bone
density and prevent osteoporosis. CAUTION always
be sure to check with your health care professional
before starting any new exercise or fitness program.
With the warm weather also comes golf
and golf and walking are like "two peas
in a pod". Many take up golfing as a hobby or pastime
but golfing is good for your overall health. Of course
there is more to golfing than just walking. A few years
ago, I took up golfing (and had lessons too) and learned
how difficult it is to hit that little white dimpled
ball down the fairway!
Many of my patients use golfing as their
main form of exercise during our better weather. With
golfing it is important to be ready for the season by
starting with a program of walking in the early Spring.
Start slowly and gradually increase your time and pace,
especially if you have been inactive over the Winter
months. Be sure to wear good walking shoes which provide
proper support for your foot, ankle and arch. If you
are having problems with your feet, ankles, knees or
hips when walking, you should have your health care
professional evaluate you for orthotics, which may be
indicated, depending upon your examination findings.
These are customized inserts for your shoes, which provide
optimal support for your foot and ankle. This in turn
makes your gait mechanics more efficient and reduced
the strain on the joints of your lower back. Hopefully
this will improve your golf game as well!
Once you have started walking, the next
step is to work on increasing the flexibility of the
muscles through your hips, legs, lower back and shoulders.
If you have never stretched before be cautious
and take your time. If you do not havean exercise program,
consult with your health care professional in order
to obtain a program which is appropriate for you. It
is important to remember that stretching should not
hurt. Any stretch should be taken to the point that
you feel tension in the muscle but not to the point
where you are feeling or anticipating pain. On the other
hand, if it is getting too easy to do basic stretching,
you may need an upgraded program to maximize the benefit.
Before you tee off on the first hole,
be sure to warm up your legs, hips, lower back and shoulders.
Golfing is a very "ballistic" activity. In
other words, hitting a golf ball, especially your initial
drive, is a very fast movement. This can cause significant
strain on the lower body as well as the shoulders.
Be sure that your golf shoes have adequate
traction so that you do not slip on wet grass. If your
"spikes" are worn, please replace them.
Be cautious not to "kill" the
ball or over-rotate your torso (not many of us can hit
the ball like Tiger Woods!). It is not a bad idea, to
have your golf pro review your swing on an annual basis
to see if there are some aspects which can be worked
on, which will not only reduce the risk of injury, but
more importantly, reduce your score. One other item
which is often of interest to golfers, is how to carry
their clubs. If you always use a motorized cart, that
eliminates any strain of carrying the clubs, but it
also reduced the benefit to your heart, lungs and circulation,
for battling osteoporosis. If you are carrying your
bag, the new double straps appear to be better than
using a single strap which can cause an asymmetrical
strain on your back and shoulders.
If you are using a golf cart, then it
is best to push the cart rather than pull it. When you
pull it behind you, you tend to torque or twist your
body towards that side every time you take a step forward.
Whereas, if the cart is in front of you, it is much
easier to keep pushing it in a very smooth motion, in
the right direction.Chiropractors often see golfers
through the first 2-3 months of the golfing season.
Golfing can provide a very enjoyable activity both from
a physical and mental well-being.
So as you can see, golf truly is an exercise
with multiple benefits!
Reprinted with permission of
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