BY: Kyle Baiocchi, DPT – Linglestown, Pennsylvania Center
As the weather warms and the golf clubs make their way out of the garage, it is important to consider preparing our bodies for a return to the links.
Here are five health tips to help keep you on the course and out of the clubhouse:
- Nutrition: Remember the importance of hydration when active outdoors. As temperatures rise, access to water, electrolyte-enhanced drinks and snacks is essential to the best body function.
- Environmental Elements: In cooler weather this spring, wear layers as appropriate to maintain body temperature. A round of golf takes multiple hours to complete, so it is critical to use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Posture: Walking a round of golf is a great way to improve our aerobic endurance, but we need to be conscious of posture. Injury risk to the spine and shoulders increases in those who carry their golf bag on a regular basis. If you are not riding in a cart, consider a pull cart or backpack/double strap-style golf bag to avoid carrying your bag on one shoulder.
- Technique: If you are considering becoming a more regular golfer or picking up the sport, you might consider instructional lessons to improve swing mechanics and decrease unnecessary stresses on your body. Overuse or repetitive stress injuries account for the vast majority of golf injuries.
- Warm Up: Most golfers warm up for fewer than 10 minutes prior to starting a round. This may increase your risk for injury by two to three times. A decrease in thoracic spine mobility and hip flexibility not only increases risk of injury in those body regions but also nearby in the shoulders, low back and knees. Below are exercises for the mid back and hips that promote an active warm-up prior to hitting the range or stepping up to the first tee.