Many people consider golf a low-level physical activity without the possibility of injury ever happening to them. But, there is a potential risk of suffering serious injuries to the elbow, spine, knee, hip or wrist.
Before hitting the links, golfers can take some preventive measures to protect themselves against injury.
Leading the list of injuries is golfer’s elbow, and one of the best ways to avoid elbow problems is to strengthen the forearm muscles and slow the swing so that there will be less shock in the arm when the ball is hit by the golfer.
To avoid golfer’s elbow, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests these simple exercises to help build up your forearm muscles.
Squeeze a tennis ball. Squeezing a tennis ball for five minutes at a time is a simple, effective exercise that will strengthen your forearm muscles
Wrist curls. Use a lightweight dumbbell. Lower the weight to the end of your fingers, then curl the weight back into your palm, followed by curling up your wrist to lift the weight an inch or two higher. Perform 10 repetitions with one arm, then repeat with the other arm.
Reverse wrist curls. Use a lightweight dumbbell. Place your hands in front of you, palm side down. Using your wrist, lift the weight up and down. Hold the arm that you are exercising above your elbow with your other hand in order to limit the motion to your forearm. Perform 10 repetitions with one arm, then repeat with the other arm.
Another common complaint among golfers, low back pain, can be caused by a poor swing. The rotational stresses of the golf swing can place considerable pressure on the spine and muscles. Also poor flexibility and muscle strength can cause minor strains in the back that can easily become severe injuries.
Here are some simple exercises to help strengthen lower back muscles and prevent injuries.
Rowing. Firmly tie the ends of rubber tubing. Place it around an object that is shoulder height (like a door hinge). Standing with your arms straight out in front of you, grasp the tubing and slowly pull it toward your chest. Release slowly. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions, at least three times a week.
Pull-downs. With the rubber tubing still around the door hinge, kneel and hold the tubing over your head. Pull down slowly toward your chest, bending your elbows as you lower your arms. Raise the tubing slowly over your head. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions, at least three times a week.
But perhaps, one of the best ways for golfers to stretch their muscles and avoid injury could be considered old-fashioned—before your round of golf, engage in some simple stretching exercises, and then get a bucket of balls and hit a few golf balls on the driving range. It not only will help your game, but will make you healthier in the long run.