Get in Shape for Golf
You can't beat a good game of golf for low-impact exercise and plenty of fresh air. Just like runners, though, you may want to get in shape for golf. Golf is an excellent sport for keeping physically fit and mentally alert.
Get in Shape for Golf
Start exercising a few weeks in advance, about the same time of day you'll be playing golf. Walk 20 to 30 minutes a day, 3 to 4 times a week. Take a club and begin practicing your grip. Practice your back swing, keeping the club at waist level, and slowly increase to a full swing. Start with one of the shorter clubs, working up to longer, heavier irons.
When you arrive at the golf course, and before you change into your golf shoes, find a bench and try these exercises for warming up your neck, shoulders, trunk, and legs.
Calf and hamstring warm up
Put your left foot on the bench, keeping your knee close to your body.
Your right foot remains on the ground. Place your hands under your left knee, holding onto the thigh. Tuck your chin to your chest and curl down slowly. Hold and count to 10. Do not bounce. Come back up slowly, keeping your chin to your chest.
For the Trunk and Upper Body
Stand and hold your golf club horizontally with both hands. Raise the club and place it behind your neck. Then, with feet comfortably apart, slowly rotate body to the left, then to the center, then to the right. Do this exercise frequently during your game and again afterwards.
Golf Warm Ups
Before teeing off on the golf course, most people warm up by hitting balls at the driving range, then putting and chipping on the practice green. But it's better to start at the practice green, then go to the driving range; that way, your muscles aren't cold and tight when you start playing.
Fitness Benefits of Golfing
Golf is a good workout in itself - which is why you may want to get in shape for golf. If you pull your own clubs on a pull-cart, you will burn 340 calories per hour (based on a 150 pound person) -- nearly 70 caloires more than taking a brisk walk. Carry your clubs and torch 374 calories per hour!
A recent study of middle-aged golfers showed that walking during a game of golf significantly increased aerobic performance and core-muscle endurance (that alone means a better game) while reducing weight, abdominal skinfold thickness and waist circumference, reports the Physician and Sports Medicine Journal. The test subjects who had been sedentary the previous seven months, played about 2.5 rounds of golf per week (about 10 hours' worth) for 20 weeks. The golfers also showed decreased levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides.
While some view the sport as slow-paced, golf actually requires a great deal of strength and stamina, not to mention skill. While you may not have to be in the best cardiovascular shape to play golf, your muscles, particularly those of the legs and upper torso, must be both strong and flexibile to keep your handicap below an embarrassing level.
Flexibility is an important key to developing a full, fluid golf swing. Simply swinging the club is not enough, but you can increase the range of motion in your shoulders, trunk, low back and hamstrings with just a few minutes of daily stretching.
Finally, cardiovascular conditioning is essential to help you keep your energy up during a long round of golf. That conditioning can help you deal with the stress of making a crucial putt or of getting out of a sand trap.
Improving your golf game requires a bit more than simply playing a lot of golf, but it doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the gym. Try the exercises outlined here and you'll not only come closer to par, but you'll also reap numerous health benefits, such as increased lean body weight, reduced body fat, lower blood pressure and increased strength and flexibility.
While it may be difficult to motivate some people to stretch or begin strength training, telling them they might lower their handicap may be just the ticket to get them to head to the gym. Or work out at home. Whichever is most convenient.
The point is to do it, regardless of whether it's for health or for a better golf score.
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