Lifestyle

Kittle: Golf exercises improve strength, flexibility

Golf season is here and what a great way that sport offers seniors to have fun and get fit at the same time.

My senior fitness class participants have been asking me lately what exercises they can do to improve their golf game.

Not only can training exercises improve your golf game, but they also help prevent injury.

In golf, flexibility is a major factor in creating an effortless swing.

We tend to lose strength, balance and flexibility as we age and some of the most common problem areas for seniors in golf are the hips, ankles and shoulders.

The following are some specific exercises from The Mayo Clinic to improve strength and flexibility in these areas.

Strengthen Shoulders

Use the rowing machine at the gym or do dumbbell rows, start with a very low weight, and increase the amount that you’re lifting as you build up your strength.

 

Core and shoulder strength and flexibility—aka “The golf twist”— is a move that mimics the golf swing and helps improve your range of motion.

 

Hold your golf club behind your head with both hands and rest the club on the meaty part of your back near your shoulders.

Rotate at your midsection from side to side loosening up through your spine.

When you rotate, the heel on the opposite side of the direction you are rotating will come off the ground.

Ensure that you don’t twist too far by making sure that your heel, knee and pelvis stay in line during the rotation.

Your top section around your shoulder will loosen up as well as the upper back. Do 20 rotations or swings

Torso Stretch

 

Reaching up over head with your golf club in both hands, make sure your feet are apart and keeping your shoulders, hips and wrists all in line.

 

Gently ease over and stretch to the left side with your golf club overhead and arms extended and then repeat to the right side. Hold each stretch to the side for 10 seconds

 

Hip Flexor Stretch

 

Go down on your left knee and place your right foot two feet in front, while holding on to your golf club with your right hand for support.

Lean forward keeping your knee behind your toes and your vision directed straight ahead and encouraging the stretch with your pelvis coming down.

Hold 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat other side.

Back Stretch

Hold the golf club forward on the ground, gripped and the handle with both hands and step backwards until your back is parallel with the ground and a 90 degree bend at the hips and stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.

Ankles

Strengthen and stretch your ankles with seated ankle rotations (clockwise and counterclockwise) or with seated and standing calf raises

 

Calf Stretch

 

Stand holding your golf club for support, take one leg behind approximately two feet apart.

Encourage the heel of your back leg to go down towards the ground. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat other side.

Hips

 

Stretch your quadriceps

leaning on your golf club with one hand for balance, lift your left foot backwards toward your buttocks and hold your foot with your left hand.

 

Try to keep your knees together, resist against your hand and push your pelvis forward. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat other side.

Hamstring Stretch

Holding or leaning onto your golf club for support and stability with your right hand, put your left leg one step forward with your heel on the ground and your toes pointed upwards.

Ensure that your chest stays upright and straight and bend forward from the hips, slightly bending your right leg but keeping your left leg straight.

You should feel a stretch in the rear of your left leg. Hold for approximately 15 to 20 seconds for each stretch. Then repeat other side

Other general tips

Take the time to always warm up before heading out on the golf course.

A proper warm-up will prevent injuries and also prepare your body for the movements during golf.

 

You should also cool down as

your muscles have tightened during the round of golf and a probable buildup of lactic acid will occur.

 

If that isn’t counteracted, injuries may result.

There are many benefits of golf, so don’t miss out on inviting friends along as well and have some fun.

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