Golf Exercises for Seniors
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Golf may have the reputation as being a less-than-strenuous sport, but that doesn't mean that injury prevention and exercises for strength and flexibility aren't critical. As you get older, your joints become stiffer, bone density and lean muscle mass decline, and weight often increases, but there are exercises you can do to help fight back against the damage time can do to your golf game and many of them don't require special equipment.
Stretch Your Torso
Seated rotations can improve flexibility and prevent injuries through stretching. The key here is to sit in a chair that doesn't ease back or slide on the floor. To start, just sit upright with your back against the chair and rotate your body to one side as far as you can and hold on to the back of the seat for a moment before slowly turning back to face forward and repeating to the other side for a total of 10 stretches on each side. You should feel a slight pull in your back and other muscles in your torso, but not a strain. Aim for 10 repetitions on each side.
Open Your Hips
Because hip rotation is such a key part of a good golf swing, keeping your hips flexible should be part of any golfer's exercise program. Side-lying leg circles is a pilates exercise and will work those core muscles, but it's one seniors and juniors can do with relative ease. To start, lie on one side with your supporting arm over your head and feel yourself pulling yourself up with your core muscles and those on your supporting side. Then slowly lift your top leg as far as you can while still maintaining "pelvic stability," and move that leg in small circles. After about eight or 10 circles, switch sides and do another eight to 10 circles with the other leg. Focus on the muscles of your core and try to keep the tension and stress out of your shoulders and neck.
Swing a Weighted Club
Just as baseball players warm up with a weighted bat, so to can senior golfers get ready for a "real" swing by taking some practice swings with a weighted club. Such clubs are available at most good pro shops or sporting good stores. Even just taking a few swings before each drive, fairway shot or round, will help you focus on your swing and improve your club speed and help tone the muscles you need for the game.
James Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication that has approximately 75,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, covering issues ranging from the environment and government to family matters and education. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.