The Healthy Golfer

We provide services for golfers looking for help with pre & post round exercise, stretching for golf, strengthening and conditioning for golf, golf diet review and analysis, nutritional supplements and chiropractic care.


Beat the Heat?

Wow! Golfers all over the Island here must be thrilled with the weather we have been enjoying over the past few weeks! Due to my travel, practice, family and writing commitments it is often difficult for me to get a round of golf in, but I enjoy it to its fullest when I get the chance to.   


Golf and heat generally go hand and hand at this time of the year. Really enjoying a game at this time of year and with the climate we have been having lately has a lot to due with your body’s ability to withstand the heat. A cool and comfortable golfer is a better golfer. Besides planning ahead for the wonderful warm weather activities like golf; it is also important to plan ahead to prevent serious problems caused by the heat.


When the weather is hot, your body works overtime trying to keep cool. Excess heat escapes through sweating, exhalation of warm air and increased blood flow to the skin. But hot weather can overwhelm those mechanisms, leading to a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms. If nothing is done to remedy these symptoms, serious harm, even life-threatening problems can occur.


Here are three serious types of heat-related conditions in order of severity

(Note: these can occur in stages):

1.    Heat syncope: fainting caused when the body compensates for too much heat by diverting blood from the brain to the skin.

2.    Heat exhaustion: extreme fatigue characterized by muscle aches, nausea and normal body temp. Additional symptoms include cool, clammy skin, rapid/weak pulse, pale skin, headache, dizziness and weakness.

3.    Heat stroke: failure of the body’s temperature control systems (This can be fatal depending on the severity and treatment).  Symptoms include confusion, agitation, rapid/strong pulse, hot/dry skin, reddish colored skin, lethargy, convulsions and eventual loss of consciousness. The core body temp. rises to sometimes above 40 degrees Celsius which can damage major organs.


If you or someone you are with starts to experience any of these types of symptoms it is important to seek medical attention to prevent any life-threatening situations from occurring. You should also keep in mind that signs and/or symptoms can develop over several days or strike during a single burst of strenuous activity.


It is easy to prevent your golf game from turning into a life-threatening heat-related emergency. Here are a few prevention tips:

1.    Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water, sports drink or other suitable beverage regularly. Do not drink liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar - these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

2.    Try to play at cooler times of the day (morning or evening).

3.    Rest as often as you can in shady areas (you can also make use of your umbrella on the fairways as shade).

4.    Wear a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.


It is easy to get distracted from the potential danger of the elements when playing at any beautiful golf course. Everyone should pay particular attention to the symptoms described above regarding heat, especially if you are playing a lot of golf and the heat wave we are experiencing continues. Plan ahead and keep safe!

The recent weather here in Victoria, BC hopefully served as a reminder to get ourselves conditioned for another great year of golf. As we approach spring, let's review some simple and important aspects to getting ready for increased golf play:


Firstly, it is important to have good posture. The reason is that posture promotes good mobility and good mobility allows the body to operate more efficiently, which for golfer’s means a smooth backswing and follow through. Conversely, a poor posture = poor address + poor swing path. Secondly, increasing your flexibility is also necessary to better enjoy success at golf. The spine is the main rotational component, which is pivotal in the golf swing. With greater flexibility comes greater spinal rotation and thus a more solid golf swing. Finally, you need strength to play golf well. Specific muscle groups need to be strengthened to prevent injury, to give stability to the joints and increase club head speed, this promotes good correlated muscle group co-ordination resulting in smooth and efficient backswing and follow through. The three major causes of most injuries while playing golf are de-conditioning, lack of proper flexibility and improper swing mechanics.


Golf is not a maximum-effort sport.

Golf is maximum-ability sport.


Professional golfers are more cognizant than ever of the physical demands of what they do. Take a look at look at the Top Ten golfers; they all follow conditioning programs regularly and consistently. Pro golfer Arnold Palmer told radio talk show host Larry King a few years ago, “The players that are in better shape play better, last longer and win more than the others.”


Here are some simple techniques that can help with your golfing while on the course:

  • Opposite Swing: During the round, golfers can swing reverse of their norm to help maintain better rotation and to help keep “loose” especially during times of slow play. Rotation is one of the key elements for the golf swing.
  • T-Ball Swing: it’s helpful if most of the practice swings are taken at waist-high level. This promotes better rotation and follow-through. It also helps prevent sliding the hips.
  • Keeping Loose: For those golfers who walk and carry their bags, it’s a good idea for them to raise their arms to shoulder level and reach backwards to help relieve the tension from carrying the bag. This also helps “loosen” the shoulders and rotator cuffs.
  • Fitness first: At home regular intervals of walking help overall good health and well-being. Also, concentrating on “core” exercises provides better balance, and helps to add stability to the spine and lower back, which can enhance the golf swing (read Sept. 04 article on Core Training).

It is important to understand that the main basics of a successful swing are static; for example, stance, foot position, ball position, grip, grip pressure, weight distribution, balance and alignment.


A study in Britain has shown that there is a higher incidence of injuries among golfers on the front nine holes compared with the back nine holes. It is therefore important to analyse your golf preparation not only to prevent injury but to also play better golf. There are a few “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to ensure you keep golf an enjoyable experience.


Before Golf

Don’t Carry out intensive domestic chores before playing golf

 i.e. gardening, cleaning, washing your car

These activities include fixed awkward positions that will affect your posture and limit your rotation in the golf swing.

Do Always break up these activities with short rest breaks and stretching regimes, especially as you get older.


At the golf course

Don’t Rush from the car to the golf course; this will increase the tension in your mind and body, which will in turn inhibit a relaxed swing. In addition, Don’t lean over to the back seat from the front seat to grab your golf equipment; this act is a perfect recipe for neck and shoulder injuries.


On the course or while practicing

Don’t Use poor standard equipment like worn golf shoes and spikes as this will affect your stance and balance. Worn grips can cause tennis elbow and excessive squeezing on the club especially affecting your short game.

Do Get your clubs checked to ensure they are the correct length and fitted personally for you.

Don’t Forget that the temperature in your car is usually different from the temperature outside therefore stretch and warm-up prior to teeing off.

Do Make sure you stretch after you get out of your heated car in the winter and your air-conditioned car in the summer to warm-up your muscles for golf.


If you get the proper training, and keep practicing and working, you too can lower your golf score. You can become good at golf at any age. It just takes the proper training and practice. Remember, contact your local health practitioner to get your preseason golf assessment to find out where you are at and shape up for golf. Call to book your assessment and take your golf game to another level. You can also follow me and get some insight and details about helping your golf game on Twitter - @thehealthygolfr (no this is not a spelling mistake)

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.” Ben Hogan

Breakfast…the most important meal of the day?


How many times have you heard this? Well I am going to tell you again how important breakfast is. After getting a great 7 – 9 hours of sleep (hopefully) your body needs to “break” the “fast”. It is probably the longest time of the day your body has gone without any nutrients (food and/or water). Our bodies continue to work through the night to recover from the previous day and prepare for the upcoming day therefore it is important to have breakfast but not just any breakfast. The type food combination is also important.


Firstly, we wake up in a dehydrated state due to breathing all night (part of keeping us alive!). We release water molecules in the air with each breath so we therefore need to rehydrate our body. Your body requires approximately half your body weight in water intake (i.e. body weight of 180lbs requires 90 ounces of water which is 12-13 eight ounce glasses of water). Start your day (before eating) with 25 percent of your total daily water intake with a slice of lemon and sip the rest of your intake throughout the day; if the day is hotter or you are more active increase by 1-2 glasses. (The water should be at room temperature; cold water can cause stomach muscles to tighten.) Thirst is a sign of dehydration. It is also important if you are not near this amount that you gradually increase the intake over the period of a few weeks and yes you may travel to the washroom more frequently as your body balances out!


Now back to breakfast, after having a good night’s sleep, your body has depleted its liver glycogen levels (carbohydrate stores) and thus is “hungry” for energy. If you fail to supply the body with food, it will begin to function in a catabolic or “breakdown” state which is not the goal, especially for athletes (golfers are included in this category). Breakfast supplies the brain nutrients and also controls blood sugars as some of the many important factors.


The goal of breakfast is to set a solid nutrition base for the rest of the day. It determines the quantity and quality of food to be eaten later in the day. Carbohydrate provides the body with energy, but you need more than that to get you going. Adding a lean protein and healthy fat to breakfast prevents a “carb-crash” mid-morning by slowing digestion and thus giving you energy for a longer period of time. When protein and fat are present at a meal the blood sugar curve is more balanced. Whole foods are always best to control blood sugar.


Those who eat poorly at breakfast typically find themselves tired throughout the day, starving at night and tend to crave less healthy foods. So whether you are at home, in a hotel or in the player’s dining area on the PGA Tour, here is a breakfast checklist to follow…


Make sure your breakfast consists of…


Complex Carbohydrates: oatmeal, whole grain cereal, wheat bread/bagel/English muffin

Protein: eggs/egg whites, lean ham, turkey sausage/bacon, whey protein powder, 2% cheese

Healthy fat: peanut or almond butter, nuts, flaxseed or flaxseed mill Choose a low-fat (skim, 1% or 2%) dairy product such as milk or yogurt as both provide carbohydrate and protein in addition to a variety of vitamins and minerals

Aim to get a fruit into your breakfast (1 serving = ½ banana, 1 medium fruit, ½ cup chopped fruit, i.e. apples or berries)

Avoid your intake of fried foods, greasy potatoes, extra gravies/sauces, & sugary pastries/muffins


Quick & Healthy Breakfast Choices

• ½ cup (dry) oatmeal w/ 1 scoop whey protein powder & 1 Tbs. peanut butter, 8-12 oz low-fat milk

• 100% whole wheat English muffin toasted w/ 3 oz lean ham, 1 slice 2% cheese, 1 banana, 8-12 oz low-fat milk

• 100% whole wheat bagel w/ 2 Tbs peanut butter, 1scoop whey protein powder in 8 oz low-fat milk

• 2 pieces 100% whole wheat toast w/ 2 Tbs peanut butter, 2% string cheese, 1 yogurt

• 250 calorie energy bar, 1 fruit, small hand full nuts, 12 oz low-fat milk

• 1 pack Kashi pumpkin flax granola bars, 2% string cheese, small handful nuts, 12 oz low-fat milk

• 1 yogurt w/1 cup whole grain cereal mixed in, 1 slice whole wheat toast w/1 slice melted 2% cheese, 1 banana


Eating Breakfast at a Restaurant or the Player’s Eating Area

 • Egg white omelette w/veggies, ham, sprinkle cheese, w/ 1 cup cooked oatmeal , 8 oz low-fat milk or 1 slice whole wheat bread w/ 1 packet peanut butter, 1 banana

• 2 scrambled eggs, w/ 2 slices lean ham, whole wheat English muffin w/1 packet jelly, 1 cup berries or 3 slices turkey bacon, 2 slices whole wheat toast w/ 1 packet peanut butter, 1 yogurt

• 3 slices ham, 1 toasted whole wheat bagel w/ 1 packet cream cheese, 8 oz low-fat milk, 1 cup berries

• Whole wheat breakfast sandwich/bagel w/egg, cheese & ham, 1 yogurt w/ ½ cup berries, 8 oz low-fat milk


So if your goal is to have energy throughout your day and golf game, maintain driving strength through the 18th hole and stay mentally focused, you better set your alarm early and make time for breakfast.


Remember…if you want your body to perform at its highest potential, you have to fuel it with good nutrition. Put gas in the tank and the car will drive where you want it to go… Call to get your diet analyzed and body composition assessed.


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