The Healthy Golfer Blog

Get Warm
Those who play golf often do not realize the potential for injury and the need to warm up before teeing off. You would not start your car, shift into drive, and step on the gas without warming up the engine first. Without an adequate warm up before playing golf, golfers risk back, neck, shoulder and elbow strain from the rotation required for the golf swing. Golf requires an extreme amount of bending and twisting of the spine, as well as rotation of the hips and shoulders.

Warming up is exactly as it sounds - elevating your body temperature one to two degrees above normal via the use of a variety of activities. A ‘warm-up’ effectively prepares the body and mind for physical exertion. As a result, muscles and tendons become more lubricated and elastic, allowing for more efficient contraction during the athletic activity. The primary reasons athletes give for warming up are to enhance performance and to avoid injury.

The length of the warm-up depends on the type of activity involved, the level of intensity of the activity, and the level of fitness of the participant. For golf, it is important to warm-up the muscles that will be utilized during the course of the game. Since there is usually no place to warm-up at a golf course (something that should be added to every course), try walking or riding a stationary bike for 10-15 minutes before you get in your car to go to the golf course. Then gently stretch your calves, hamstrings (rear thigh), quadriceps (front thigh), adductors (groin muscles), lower back, shoulders and muscles surrounding the elbow. Each stretch should be performed gently and slowly, held for 20-30 seconds and repeated 2-3 times. When you get to the course, walk again for about 5 minutes and practice swinging your club gently from both sides. A few short minutes committed to these pre-golf exercises will reduce your incidence of injury on the course!

Finally, consider walking instead of renting a golf cart - to increase the athletic component of the game. Stretch your calves, shoulders, and muscles located around your elbow between each hole to remain more flexible thoughout the day. Now you’re ready to play. Forget about everything and enjoy the greatest sport of all!


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