Fitness

Golfing for Pleasure, Not Pain

Golf is one of the most popular recreational pastimes in America. Many people belong to country clubs with private golf courses, and access to public courses is available in most areas. According to the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), women account for 26% of all golfers, with participation increasing slightly each year.

Golf as a sport has a lot of things going for it — it involves walking outside in the fresh air, it is moderate in intensity, and it requires balance, flexibility, concentration and skill. The drawback is that people usually don’t get to play it consistently, and the twisting movements can be damaging to the lower back.

It is also a game that usually takes 2-4 hours to complete 9-18 holes. The long duration of playing can cause a person to lose focus and tire, especially if they are not used to it. This can lead to bad form, which again increases the risk of injury.

To help prepare your body for the game of golf and reduce the negative effects, I recommend you do a proper warm-up before playing. You don’t need to do a lot, just targeted stretches that will help keep your positioning aligned and your swing less stressful to the lower back. Below are four easy pre-golf stretches that help in this regard.

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Standing Quad Stretch: Stand next to a wall or table, bend your right leg behind you and grab your foot with your right hand (image 1). Keep your left hand touching the wall or table, and bend your standing leg to help your balance. Holding your right foot, relax your leg and hip muscles and allow the right knee to point straight down so the right thigh is parallel to the left leg. Gently press your hip forward and pull on your foot to feel a stretch down the front of your right thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat the stretch on your left leg.

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