Golf is a popular sports activity. Unlike most sports, it can be played throughout the golden years, if you can stay in shape and avoid injury. The American Physical Therapy Association says that older golfers often forget that while their passion for the game remains high, their bodies have aged. As we age, we lose flexibility, muscle mass and strength. Because the golf swing’s extreme bending and twisting movements are not natural for the body, senior golfers are at a greater risk of injury. Correct body mechanics on or off the course (lifting golf bags, etc.) play a larger role in preventing injuries. Warm-up exercises before starting a game are essential to prevent injury and continuing with these exercises during the game will help muscles recover faster and maintain muscular balance. Keeping yourself in shape with year-round conditioning, balance, strength, endurance and flexibility training ensures an injury-free game. Try these stretches:
Anterior Shoulder Stretch:
Increases range of motion (ROM). Standing, hold your golf club behind your back with palms outward. Raise the club upwards until a stretch is felt in the front of your shoulders and chest. Hold 20 to 30 seconds. Do 2 to 3 sets.
Increases trunk ROM and prepares muscles for your golf swing (reduces back injury.) Stand holding your golf club with both hands (palms outward), resting the club on the small of your back. Bend backwards slowly. Hold for 2 seconds and return. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Stand in the golf posture with your club behind your neck on your shoulders and grasp each end. Slowly and with control, rotate your upper body back, simulating a golf swing. Stretch the trunk region. Repeat 10 times.
Increase flexibility. Start with one arm held outward horizontally, elbows straight, palm down. Use your other hand to bend your wrist downward. Hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Then turn your palm upward and repeat. Do 2 to 3 sets per wrist.