Golf is one of the most popular outdoor sports, and it's often enjoyed for its low-stress and low-impact nature when compared to other highly competitive activities. Essentially requiring just a number of swings and some walking, a lot of golf enthusiasts often forget the basic rule of playing any sport and engaging in physical activity — warm-up exercises, which are just as important when golfing as when playing basketball or football, or going on a long run. Fact is, massage therapists have seen too many pulled muscles, and worse, sports-related injuries even from low-contact and low-stress sports, like golf.
Thinking of spending a day out in the sun for a round of golf? Don't forget to stretch and do some warm-up exercises to enjoy a good, stress- and injury-free game. Throughout the years, massage therapists have observed injuries to neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, lower back, and knees — simply because patients skipped out on warm-up exercises. But really, proper warm-up and preparation don't just help to avoid muscle strains and other common injuries — they can also unlock maximum range of motion that enables higher swings and better putting.
To a regular golf spectator, the arms appear to be where a huge portion of the game lies, as successful putting requires applying the right force and angle when swinging the club. But did you know that a good game of golf actually involves the entire body? That's right — swinging and putting involves coordinated motion in the neck, elbows, shoulders, wrists and hands, the lower back, and all the way down to the knees. According to massage therapists, a simple stretching and warm-up routine that targets all these areas could be the difference between a safe and healthy game and a pulled muscle, or worse, a lasting condition like carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists, disc injury in the spine, or osteoarthritis that can be compounded by other factors, like age.
While injuries can also occur as a result of freak accidents on the golf course, a lot of the lasting conditions impacting the muscles and the joints develop over time; so whether you're a first-time player or a full-on enthusiast, it pays to stretch and exercise properly before setting foot on the course and picking up a club.
According to massage therapists, the best part about warm-up exercises is that they're easy to follow, while providing both life-saving and athletic benefits in just a few minutes.
As a huge part of playing golf involves swinging motions, it's important to practice swinging, starting at half-speed and working your way up, even practicing with a few balls to get your arms ready for the actual game. And while you're at it, make sure to do some posterior shoulder stretches for a complete arm warm-up. Next, golf involves positioning the hips and legs, which includes bending the knees to achieve an optimal swing and keep the club as close as possible to the ball. This calls for quick knee to chest stretches to open up the knees and ensure that they don't strain from the constant bending, supplemented by hamstring stretches to open up the thigh muscles. In relation to the hips and legs is correctly angling the upper body, which can be achieved with side bending, complemented by trunk rotations for a complete upper body stretch and utmost flexibility for powerful swings.
Thanks to these simple, easy to follow warm-up exercises, you’ve never played better. Playing through the pain is a myth — because your most powerful swing and best score shouldn’t come at the price of the most common golf injuries that can be easily avoided, and massage therapists have seen far too often.
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