As we hang up our skis and snowshoes, and pull out our golf clubs, there are some simple things to consider to ensure an injury-free season. The state of your physical fitness (flexibility, strength and endurance) not only plays a large role in your capacity to complete a full round of golf with ease (or any activity for that matter), but it can also play a large role in your performance. A body working at optimal function does not have to work nearly as hard as one full of imbalances. Here are some points to consider to ensure a healthy, strong, successful season:
– Ensure equipment is properly sized for you. The equipment should support proper ergonomics, not impede it. If you have inherited a set of golf clubs from a spouse, family member or friend, ensure they fit you properly. Even more important if you are in the learning stages of the sport. It is far easier to teach the proper foundation of a movement the first time than to undo a poorly executed movement and create new habits.
– Trunk flexibility (rotation) is paramount in golf. In one round, you could swing an average of 120 times (or more if you golf like I do)! If your spine and torso is not able to perform a fluid motion, way more force will be put into your joints increasing potential for injury. Men often can mask flexibility and technique by powering through their swing with muscle strength, putting additional stress on the spine and body as well. This not only lowers the consistency of the swing plane but also uses way more energy than required.
– Be posture aware! Posture goes hand in hand with flexibility and balance. Not only is there a neurological component that can be improved with regular chiropractic adjustments, but maintaining proper spinal curves and having the ability to hinge forward at your hips (versus rounding forward through your low back) can be improved with a targeted stretching/strengthening regime. Posture breakdown often occurs through daily repetitive activities, so regular attention to these imbalances is needed.
– Stretch before and after your game! The general recommendation is to perform dynamic stretches (with movement…not bounce) pre-activity, and static stretched (stretch and hold) afterwards. Dynamic stretches should focus on movement patterns you will encounter during your game – twists, hip and hamstring openers, shoulder rotation and mobility, etc. For specific stretches, consult your Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Physiotherapist, Personal Trainer or Golf Pro.
– Hydrate! Drinking more water feels like such a cliché recommendation, but it’s true. Not only are you physically exerting yourself, but you are outside in the sun and add alcohol on top of that, you are creating the perfect storm for dehydration. Maintaining adequate hydration both during and outside of your golf game will help to reduce joint stiffness and reduce fatigue, thus reducing the tendency to compromise the form of your swing.
– Get coached! Whether it is a tune-up lesson or a series throughout the summer, even the best of the best get coached. The smallest modifications to a swing, follow-through or stance can not only improve your game, but can take tremendous repetitive stress off your body. This goes hand-in- hand with…
– Continue regular Chiropractic care, Acupuncture and Massage Therapy. Hopefully you aren’t in need of support due to a physical crisis, but it’s important to consider the benefits of maintaining regular body support even when you’re feeling good. Often, by the time pain or injury surfaces, an imbalance or subluxation has been present for some time. Having regular care can catch issues before they hinder and help ensure you get more out of the stretches and strengthening you are doing on your own!
Dr. Karen Quinn is a Chiropractor at our Quarry Park Location and focuses on family wellness care using low-force specific adjustments.
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