Golf: Swinging away from Injuries
Although golf is considered a low impact sport, the dynamic action of the golf swing is a major contributing factor to injury. The swing is multi-segmental that involves rotational forces and when repeated frequently can result in injury. Golfers risk injury to the back, elbow, shoulder, wrist and knee. To ensure we enjoy more time on the course, we can adopt these injury prevention strategies.
Many of us are guilty of teeing up right away without warming up our muscles and joints. Set aside 5-10 minutes to do some dynamic stretches or practice swinging your golf clubs a few times, gradually increasing your range of motion and speed. Here are two exercises that can help improve your hip, back and shoulder mobility before the game.
Lunge with Spinal Stretch
Take a big step forward with your right foot, so that you are in a staggered stance.
Bend your right knee and drop into a lunge, keeping your left leg behind you with your toes on the ground. You should feel a stretch at the front of your left thigh.
Place your left hand on the floor and twist your upper body to the right as you extend your right arm toward the ceiling.
Hold for 30 seconds or more.
Repeat on the other side.
Overhead Shoulder Stretch and Rotation
Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, hold a golf club and lift it overhead.
Bend both elbows to to 90 degrees and lower the golf club to the level behind your head. Feel the stretch in your chest muscles.
Hold the position for 20 seconds or more.
Lift the golf club overhead, bend your body slowly to the side, while maintaining shoulder- width grip on the club.
Bend down as far as it is comfortable for you. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds or more.
Repeat on the other side.
Manage Playing Volume
Be aware of the stresses that repetitive golf practice produces and find a balance between participation volume and recovery. Avoid practicing for long hours especially if your body is not conditioned for the strain. It may do more harm than good. Instead, gradually train your body to the demands of the swing, and focus on proper form.
Regular stretching can improve your range of movement. It encourages a more fluid golf swing and reduces compensatory factors that will lead to injuries. Focus on stretching your back, shoulder and hip muscles.
Strengthen Your Muscles
We are not aiming to look like the Hulk to hit the long drives. But being stronger can improve your club speed and prevent injury. Focus on conditioning exercises for core stability, hip stabilisers, and shoulder strength.
Swing and Posture Assessment
Understanding the mechanics behind your golf swing can help prevent injuries. Engage the assistance of a qualified golf coach to identify potential swing faults. What you learn about your golf swing may even help you lower your scores.
Whether you play golf on a social or competitive level, set aside some time off the course to work on being in the game for a longer time.
Consider it all part of the game.