The warm weather we've experienced this spring has hastened the arrival of golf season which is now in full swing. Like any activity that we haven't done in a while, it is important to begin slowly and let your body get used to the new demands being asked of it. Couple that with the twisting and torque of the golf swing and it is easy to appreciate why taking a few proactive efforts can go a long way, maybe even further than your drive off the first tee.
Make sure you have the right gear. Your clubs should be the correct length so you don't have to bend or overextend your back and it is important that they have the appropriate stiffness and grip for you. Consulting a pro for guidance with these details is helpful. A well-fitting golf shoe with good support can also prevent low back, hip, and knee pain.
Consider taking a few lessons to learn the technique of the swing and how to choose the correct club. This can help minimize your chances of experiencing pain as well as take strokes off your score.
Use a push/pull golf cart to transport your bag or occasionally use a motorized cart to decrease the strain on your body. A double strap bag that evenly distributes the weight is best if you prefer to carry your clubs. When lifting your golf bag, bend your knees and lift using your legs, not your back.
Don't neglect the warm-up! Before taking some easy swings, start with a short walk and then do some light stretching, which may include a few repetitions of the following:
1. Side bends. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms reaching above your head. Bend to the side slightly until you feel a stretch on the opposite side without twisting your body. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
2. Quadriceps stretch. While holding onto an object for balance bend your right knee so your heel approaches the right buttock. Grasp the top of your right foot with your right hand and pull gently until you feel a stretch in the front of your right thigh. Keep your stomach tight so you don't extend your back. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
3. Back of shoulder stretch. Reach your right arm across the front of your body and grasp the elbow with your left hand. Gently pull your arm a little further so you feel a stretch on the back of your right shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
4. Forearm stretch. With your arm stretched out in front of you with the palm facing down, pull your fingers upward with the other hand so your palm now faces forward. Hold that stretch for 15 seconds. Then pull your fingers down so they point toward the ground. Hold that stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other arm.
It's also important to drink plenty of water during your game as becoming dehydrated can cause fatigue and increase your risk of injury.
If you experience pain either during or after your game you should seek an evaluation and treatment if it persists longer than two or three days. Too much of a delay in receiving treatment for an injury may lengthen the recovery process and make it more difficult. This article is for general information purposes only and is not to be taken as professional medical advice.