Injury & Stress: Prevent Golf Injuries

Many people consider golf a low-level physical activity without the possibility of injury happening to them. But, there is a potential risk of suffering serious injuries to the elbow, spine, knee, hip or wrist.

Before beginning daily play, golfers can take some preventive measures to protect themselves against injury.

Golfers elbow

Leading the list of injuries is golfers elbow. 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 struck.

To avoid golfers elbow, the American Academy of Orthopedic 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. Perform 3-5 sets for 2-3 times per week.

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. Perform 3-5 sets for 2-3 times per week.

Lower back pain

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. This particular motion works, primarily, fast-twitch muscle fibers. Also, poor flexibility and muscle strength can cause minor strains in the back that can easily become severe injuries.

Following are some simple exercises to help strengthen lower back muscles and help reduce or 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.

Low-Pulley Rows. Use the machine with this name in the gym. Select a comfortable weight and with legs bent, lower your forehead between your legs until your chest touches your thighs. Then, in a rowing motion, pull your body back to about a 45 degree angle as you pull the weight to your abdomen chest area. Lower the weight and repeat the next repetition. Perform 3-5 sets of 8-10 repetitions for 2-3 times per week.

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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.

As with other sports, never, never, never play without properly warming the muscles first. An injury can put you days, weeks, or months behind an intended schedule of progress or play.

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