As you get older, your weight increases, your bone density and lean muscle mass reduce, and joints become stiffer. The good news is that there are plenty of sports you can indulge in to fight back against the damage time can do. Many seniors in the United States choose golf as a way to stay in shape. Playing golf is a great way to have some fun and get fit at the same time, especially if you choose to skip the golf cart and walk the course instead. Golf instruction for senior golfers is becoming much more popular with more and more folks playing golf later, and longer, in life.
Gone are the days when golf was considered just a hobby for retirement – it has gradually grown to become a more active and engaging sport. Even though golf is not particularly strenuous, it provides seniors with plenty of stretches and cardiovascular exercise. The pace of play and distance of each shot may not be the best, but the fun will always remain constant. Besides, fitness for life after 50 is not about making significant gains.
Golf is a timeless and ageless sport with physical, mental and social benefits. This is just one of the reasons that make golf one of the best sport ever. It provides challenges for golfers of all ages, but there are special challenges for senior golfers. After 50, strength and power performance decline significantly. Your body undergoes physiological changes that have a direct effect on strength and power production. An aging adult will lose 30 percent of their muscle mass and maximal strength. From walking, swinging and constant movement, golf can get harder on your body as you age.
Functional strength training is the best-known anti-aging remedy for muscle loss. It refers to exercises performed in an unsupported, 3D environment that needs the brain to coordinate muscles into patterns of movement. Common problem areas for seniors in golf are the shoulders, hips and ankles. A well-planned exercise program that includes functional strength and power training can help improve your strength and flexibility in these areas.
Before you pick up your club for a round of golf, you need to take time to loosen your body through a series of simple exercises. Many instructors don’t understand the senior golfer demographic. That is why we prepared this article specific to golfers over 50. When building a strength and power training routine to improve your golf game, it is crucial to hit the most common trouble spots.
If you’re a seasoned golfer, you may have experienced cramped quadriceps, especially if you don’t stretch adequately before a game. Quads help to improve your balance and rotation. One of the best ways to increase ground force is to improve lower body strength. The good news is that the stretch to loosen quads is simple. Stand upright with both of your feet on the ground. Support yourself with the wall, a door frame or tree. Bend your right leg and the knee slowly. Use your right hand to hold it as close to your buttocks as possible. Hold this pose for 10-15 seconds and then repeat with the left leg.
Hip rotation is a fundamental part of a great golf swing. It contributes to a better range of motion when golfing. Reduced hip rotation can put you at higher risk of lower back injury. Keeping your hips flexible is, therefore, something you should consider to include in your exercise program. Hip stiffness can occur in different planes of motion: to the side, forward and rotationally. Squats and lunges will help strengthen your hips. For a better range of motion, seated hip stretch and hip drops will do the magic. To perform the exercise, lie on one side with your supporting arm over your head. Continue until you feel yourself pulling up with your muscles. Lift your top leg slowly as far as you can. Ensure you maintain pelvic stability and rotate that leg in small circles. Switch sides and do circles with the other leg.
By stretching your torso through seated rotations, you will improve flexibility and prevent injuries. For best results, use a chair that doesn’t slide on the floor or ease back. To perform this exercise, sit upright with your back against the chair. Next, rotate your body as far as you can to the right. Hold on to the back of the seat for a few seconds. Turn back slowly to face forward and repeat to the left. Do 10 stretches on each side.
Walking for hours can put a strain on your lower body, and your game of golf can turn to be painful if your legs aren’t loose. Calf stretches and seated ankle rotations will help you stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding your ankles to enhance ankle flexibility. You’ll be glad to know that this exercise is a lot easier. While in a seated position, slowly rotate your ankles, bring them to the center, and hold the pose. Rotate them to the opposite side and repeat this a few times. This windshield wiper exercise loosens the muscles and ligaments surrounding the ankles. Calf raises will help to stretch your ankles even more. Start slow, take it easy and be mindful of your balance.
Do dumbbell rows or train on the rowing machine to strengthen your shoulders. If you find dumbbells to be too intense, begin with very low weight or no weight at all, and gradually increase the amount you’re lifting as you work on building up your strength. A golf twist exercise or shoulder stretches will help you to improve your shoulder flexibility (range of motion).
Golf may be considered a less-than-strenuous sport, but this does not mean that accidents and injury prevention is not vital. Take these precautions before and when playing golf:
You may not play your best golf like Tiger Woods or possess the remarkable flexibility of Miguel Angel Jimenez, but with the above-discussed tips, I’m optimistic that you can make positive changes to keep playing for years to come. It’s never too late to take up the sport of golf. Even if you’ve never picked up a golf club, beginning now might be easier than you think.
While I’m sure you want to master the best swing, remember that golf is all about having fun. Enjoy your time with family, friends, colleagues, golfing buddies and strangers. Have fun, worry less, and you’ll probably play better than ever!
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