Although golfing is not thought of as a strenuous sport, it actually can provide a very healthy workout. Strength balance, coordination, and cardio all can benefit from a round on the links, and improve your physical and mental well-being.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of what goes into playing the game and the benefits to you mind and body.
1. Walking: Walking a golf course is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system. But if you must use a cart, park it as far away from your ball as you can while still being comfortable with the distance you have to walk. In other words, don’t push yourself to do more than you feel comfortable doing, but don’t be lazy, either.
2. Strength Training: The lower body muscles such as your quadriceps and hamstrings get a lot work going up and down the hills and valleys that make up a course. And anyone whose ever lugged, loaded, and unloaded a golf bag can attest to the fact that your arms and upper body are not getting a day off.
3. Balance: Golfing increases your ability to balance your body. Balance come from the abdominal muscles, the lower back muscles, and also the gluteal muscles. Strengthening these helps to prevent back pain and injuries, and falls.
4. Concentration: Exercising your brain is just as important as exercising your body. The high degree of concentration involved in golf helps prevent brain degradation and memory loss.
There is also such a thing as “golf fitness,” that is, exercising with golf in mind. This type of training incorporates exercises for stability, mobility, strength, speed, power, explosiveness, and control. Get into the proper “golf shape” and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll lower your scores and hit farther.
With the obvious benefits of golf fitness in mind, The PGA of America has put together a booklet, “PGA Fitness Trail,” “ that features exercises you can do before or during a round of golf to help improve your performance. It also includes nutritional information that helps you to maintain good diet to go along with their exercise program. You can download “PGA Fitness Trail” by clicking here.
Harvard Medical School’s “Harvard Health Publications” has some advice on golf fitness as well. They recommend that you:
Stretch at least three times a week, paying particular attention to your back, shoulders, and arms.
Be sure to warm-up for 10-15 minutes before play.
Take lessons. Good technique is your best defense against injuries.
Spot problems early and treat them aggressively.
Ice down aching tissues directly after playing.
Use proper equipment including shoes, socks, gloves, and clothing.
Seeing as how golf is their business, the people at Taylor Made are no strangers to golf fitness either, especially when it comes to outfitting players with the proper equipment. Take a look at this video of what goes on at one of their custom Fitting Centres, because using the wrong clubs can not only lead to bad scores, but to preventable injuries.
So, drive, chip, and putt your way to better health. Read the “PGA Fitness Trail” booklet, and if you visit Taylor Made, help your wallet as well as you game and body by using a discount. May you know nothing but birdies.