Are You Ready for Golf?
Golf has been one of the fastest growing sports for the past five years. It attracts men and women of all ages. Golf once was considered a very easy, nondemanding sport that required no preparation, only practice. In reality, however, golf demands output from some of your body’s major systems, including the cardiovascular (heart) system, musculoskeletal (muscle and bones) system, and the neurologic (brain and nerves) system. These are the same systems that are challenged in football, soccer, basketball, and many other high-impact sports. Now ask yourself: do the athletes who play these sports have to warm-up and train? The answer is yes, for all these sports as well as for golf. Many quick and easy programs have been developed for golfers to warm-up once they reach the practice tee, but to reach your maximum potential while preventing injury, readiness must occur before you reach the golf course.
An average golf game takes four hours a round, which means you need the cardiovascular endurance to maintain your stamina and strength to finish the back nine as strong as the front nine (although maybe not on the score card!). For cardiovascular training, simply walking 20 to 30 minutes, 2 to 3 days a week, is sufficient. As always, before beginning any exercise program, you should see your physician. Once your doctor gives you the go ahead, start by timing yourself for 1 mile at a comfortable pace for 30 minutes. By walking 3 days a week, you progress by decreasing the time it initially took for the first mile. When you finish your walk in less time, continue at your new pace for 30 minutes, 3 days a week.
It is equally important to train your musculoskeletal system, which gives you the strength and muscle power you need for golf. The exercises below should be performed for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, with a 3-second hold after each repetition and a 30to 60-second rest between sets. The resistance can come from weights or resistance bands such as Theraband or Theratubing. If you are allergic to latex, use a latex-free device (Theraband and Theratubing can be made of latex).
If you practice this exercise program consistently, it will dramatically increase the strength and endurance you have to complete a round of golf. You will also feel better and, less stressed, and you will be less prone to injury. If you do pre-golf stretching and hit balls on the practice tee, continue with your warm-up program, but remember, real golf readiness occurs before you arrive at the course.