Spring is in the air, and with any luck we will soon be dragging our golf bags out of their winter hiding places. While I too am eager to shake off the cobwebs and enjoy some spring golf, there are some important things to consider as we emerge from this long pandemic winter. With the closure of gyms, pools, fitness classes and adult recreational sports, most of us have likely spent the winter without access to our usual fitness routines. When you combine this with the non-ideal home offices (kitchen tables and couches), most of us have been working in for most of the last 12 months, it’s possible our fitness levels may not be what we are accustomed to. For those of us in the ‘north of 40’ age bracket, this loss of fitness will be further magnified and can be significant as we try to re-engage in a demanding activity like golf.
If your response to the previous paragraph was, “I’ll just use a cart”, I would like to present a couple of alternatives that will actually enhance your game and, wait for it… improve your level of physical fitness as well 😉.
As the season approaches, we need to focus on restoring strength, flexibility and agility. An important first step for many of us would be to check in with our physiotherapist or chiropractor for a pre-season tune up. The combination of factors I just listed will have most of your key muscle groups out of balance, and have shortened or lengthened the postural muscles, tendons and ligaments in your spine in ways that aren’t advantageous when you are swinging a golf club. These health professionals are ideally suited to help you identify any specific issues and give you exercises, treatments or a combination of both to make sure you don’t greet the coming season with a preventable injury.
If you prefer to try and handle things on your own, here are some things to consider:
- It’s time to get the heart pumping. Injuries in early season often have a lot to do with fatigue. This doesn’t mean go out and run 10 km tomorrow, but certainly get outside as things warm up and start with a brisk paced walk to get your heart rate up. Try and keep it there for 20 minutes and progress from there. Be sure to consult www.heart.org to determine what heart rates are healthy for you during exercise. If you experience chest pain, abnormal shortness of breath or dizziness make sure you consult with your physician before you continue.
- Flexibility and Strength. Rotational flexibility of the lower back, hips and shoulders are key in a swing that doesn’t hurt. There are a multitude of exercises and stretches that don’t require any more equipment than a floor mat and some theraband that can help restore the range of motion and strength necessary for a successful golf swing. Online Yoga and fitness classes, some of which are golf specific, are a good place to start. Or if you want tailored advice, or more advanced routines, your health care provider can put a proper set of exercises together that meet your needs.
- Core strength. The best golfers have the perfect combination of core stability and flexibility. Basic planks and bridges are a great way to work on your core at home. Your core strength, coupled with appropriate flexibility, control and balance are all absolutely necessary for a consistent swing. As with the previous example, there are online classes that can help you in this area, and your chiropractor or physiotherapist are excellent resources for a customized program that meets your specific needs and goals.
- So much of golf depends on coordination. The foundation of coordination, is balance. Working at home with a perturbation mat, or a wobble board can definitely enhance all aspects of your game, from putting, to driving it straight and down the middle (Yes, you can buy either or both products from us)
- Hit the range or a simulator a few times before you go. Getting back into the swing of things and listening to your body is important. If you feel a persistent tightness, pain, or fatigue in an area you aren’t used to, that is great information to consult with your physiotherapist or chiropractor about.
I hope this article helps you get you and your round back into form without injury this coming spring. Remember to set reasonable goals as you return to golf shape and be patient with your progress. Have a great spring and an even better summer!
Yours in health, Dr. Denis ‘Fore’ Simons
Dr. Denis is Clinic Director and Chiropractor at Momentum Health Westbrook. Book online with Dr. Denis or anyone from the Westbrook team here
Dr. Denis Simons graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon in March of 2000, where he received several awards of distinction. Dr. Simons moved to Calgary in the spring of 2000. He owned and operated Penny Lane Chiropractic and Health in the downtown core from 2001 until 2006, when he joined the Advantage Health group of clinics. An avid and once competitive skier, Dr. Simons spent many years as a volunteer on the Lake Louise Ski Patrol and competed in several Big Mountain Competitions. For several years he enjoyed the opportunity to work and travel with the Canadian National Snowboarding team, treating several Olympic medalists along the way. His reputation consistently has travelling musicians and athletes requesting treatments as their travels bring them through Calgary. Dr. Simons continually attends seminars and courses to make sure he has the most current and relevant information and techniques. As a diversified chiropractic practitioner, he utilizes manual chiropractic adjusting techniques, home exercise, and various soft tissue and stretching techniques to help his patients achieve their healthcare and wellness goals. Being a part of the multi-disciplinary team at Momentum Health allows him to refer and co-treat with physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors and psychologists. As an OTZ trained chiropractor, Dr. Denis Simons utilizes new, groundbreaking chiropractic treatments for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (aka Adhesive Capsulitis). This new treatment approach is providing sufferers of FSS often immediate and dramatic results.