Calling all weekend warriors: Trying some new exercises to improve your golf game can lower your golf score, prevent shoulder and back injuries, and also learn how to swing and chip with more stability and power. How? By adding a simple warm-up before you play golf and performing soothing stretches afterwards, you can safely stimulate the heart and lungs, and prepare your muscles and joints for the work ahead.
There were nearly 30 million golfers above the age of six in the United States last year, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). The best part about golf—and there are many—is that it’s a universal sport, which means just about anyone can play at any age, making it a life-long hobby enjoyed by millions every weekend.
Interestingly, many studies show a 5- to 10-minute warm-up before initiating your golf game results in a safer, gradual increase in heart rate and blood flow, cardiac output and breathing rate, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Try swinging your arms in giant circles and doing sets of walking lunges and overhead stretches—both with and without your clubs—to improve your flexibility and athletic performance. Moving your major muscle groups around before (warming up) and after your golf game (stretching and cool-down, in that order) offers many benefits:
• Increases more efficient oxygen exchange between the blood and muscles;
• builds muscular endurance in your back, core muscles and torso;
• boosts energy levels and blood flow, which allows you to play any sport longer and better;
• and warming up and stretching the shoulders, back and hips can improve the power and distance behind your swings.
To prevent exercise-related soreness or sports injuries related to golf or any other exercise routine, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a 5- to 10-minute cool-down with a gradual decrease in exercise intensity, immediately followed by stretches you hold for 30 to 60 seconds each.