Golf is a low impact sport that is associated with several common injuries. These include problems with lower back, elbows, wrists and shoulders. Golf Courses are popular all year round but many people play more often during the summer months. After a winter of limited playing, how can you avoid injury as well as improving your swing?
Here are a few tips that may help:
Warm up before you start –
Whatever your sport, a good warm up before starting will get your body ready for the work ahead. It will also prepare your mind and help you to focus on your game. Begin with a brisk walk for 10 minutes, then stretch your hands, wrists and forearms. Swing your club a few times to get your hips, pelvis and lower back warmed up. Start gently and gradually increase your range of motion and swing speed.
Work on your hip mobility –
A consistent golf swing requires mobility. Rotation through the upper spine, shoulders, and hips is required to accurately reproduce a correct swing. A lot of your power comes from the hips and core. Have a look at these videos on my Facebook page. They show some stretches for the Hamstrings, Glutes and Hip Flexors that should help. A regular stretching routine will improve your range of motion.
Practise your rotation –
The rotation for your swing should come from the Upper back. This area often gets stiff and then the force of your rotation goes through the lower back instead. This can cause problems, especially if you have tight hips as well. You can practise your rotations at home or on the driving range, with or without a club. A more relaxed, consistent swing will result in longer drives.
Muscle strength –
This is also important to increase your swing speed and avoid injury from overuse. For best results, maintain a regular exercise routine all year-round. An 18 hole round is often 4-5 miles long and takes as many hours to play so incorporate cardio-vascular training (Walking, Jogging, Cycling, Swimming) as well as strength work (Weights). A full set of clubs in the bag is a heavy item to lift and carry. You don’t want to get injured taking them out of the car!
Enjoy being outdoors with the sun on your face and friends by your side –
Exercising with friends is vital to our wellbeing and self-care. Sunshine helps your body to create Vitamin D. However, 30 minutes a day is enough so use a good quality sunscreen if you will be out for a full round. Sunglasses and a hat are also necessary to protect our eyes and skin from sun damage. Drink plenty of water during the round and be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and sunstroke. (Even in the U.K.!!) Have a look at my blogs on Skin Cancer and Exercising in the heat for more details.
Wear appropriate clothing and shoes –
Dress for comfort and protection from the elements. You don’t want any restrictions to your swing, nor rubbing from fabric or footwear. Your golf shoes should have short spikes to give grip without digging into the turf. If your feet are held down as your swing there will be more strain on your knees and ankles.
If you have any questions or want to discuss, please get in touch.