Golf can be played over the course of decades and, in many cases, for an entire lifetime. This could take a toll on the body, and golfers should understand, like other athletes who may be younger and stronger, they must take care of their bodies.
Ponchatoula Therapy’s Scott Higgs says that golf actually can be considered a physically aggressive form of exercise, and it can easily introduce an issue called asymmetry. Asymmetry in golfers occurs when there is repetitive motion on one side of the body and the other side is neglected, such is the case in the golf swing.
“Oftentimes, especially in older golfers, their golf game is the only exercise they get,” Higgs said. “While we love that people of all ages use golf for exercise, if golfers are not taking care of the other side of their bodies, this can lead to problems.”
Higgs suggests making the opposite-hand swing a part of the warmup. While golfers go to the range and warm up their bodies, they are often just pounding one ball after the other with their dominant side, and Higgs says that simply making several swings with the opposite side can take care of the problem just that easily.
Higgs said suggestions for fitness are becoming the norm for golfers. “There is a reason why golfers are in so much better shape in recent years,” he said. “They are participating in weight training, flexibility exercise, cardio workouts and exercising with the other sides of their bodies. You don’t want to overstrengthen one side and ignore the other.”
The same thing happens in other sports with younger athletes. There is overdevelopment of muscles, and the back and hips, primarily, can suffer. “We see it in younger athletes such as triple jumpers, hurdlers and baseball players. Ignoring the opposite side of the body can lead to long-term pain.”
Carrie’s tips to avoiding asymmetry:
- Golfers should have a basic strength and fitness routine. Even 20 minutes two to three times per week can make a huge different.
- Swing the club with the opposite side during warmup – several times. Make sure your muscles are warm and are being strengthened for the upcoming exercise as much as the dominant side.
- The warm-up round should last 8-10 minutes. All athletes participate in warmups, and golfers should too. But this is in addition to a workout routine.