Golfing is a fun and competitive sport for people of all athletic abilities to enjoy. Whether you do it recreationally or competitively, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM) want golfers to stay injury free and take advantage of the health benefits of the sport.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 131,000 people were treated in emergency departments and doctors’ offices for golfing-related injuries in 2015.
“Proper stretching and technique are key to reaping the health benefits of golfing and decreasing your risk for injuries,” said AAOS spokesperson Thomas Ward (Quin) Throckmorton, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, specializing in shoulder and elbow surgery. “If done correctly, golfing can tone muscles, maintain bone health and build the endurance needed for daily activities.”
The AAOS and AOSSM suggest the following safety tips to help prevent golfing-related injuries and improve bone health:
- Train with an expert: Before hitting the golf course, consider training with an expert to learn proper golfing techniques.
- Walk the 18 holes: Set your own pace and walk to as many of the 18 holes that you feel comfortable doing. Walking helps to tone muscles.
- Stay hydrated: Be sure to drink plenty of water.
- Stretch prior to beginning your round of golf: Stretching helps to improve your range of motion.
- Perform regular exercises to strengthen back and shoulder muscles, including yoga and Pilates. Additional exercises may include:
- Wall push-ups: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly perform a push-up. Repeat five times. Hold for a count of five. Perform twice a day.
- Shoulder press-ups: Sit upright in a chair with armrest, with your feet touching the floor. Use your arms to slowly rise off the chair. Hold for a count of five. Repeat five times. Perform twice a day.
- Wall squats. Stand with an exercise ball between your lower back and wall. Slowly bend knees 45 to 90 degrees. Hold five seconds. Straighten knees. Repeat the process raising both arms over head.
- Lying on an exercise ball. Lie on your stomach over the ball. Slowly raise alternate arms over head. Slowly raise alternate legs two to four inches from floor. Combine one and two, alternating opposite arms and legs. Bend one knee. Slowly lift this leg up, alternating right and left legs.
- Check with your doctor: Always check with your doctor before beginning a new sport or exercise program.