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Warm Up Before Spring Tee Offs

Your golf game, and your back, will thank you

SUNDAY, April 11, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Nothing signals golf season more than the first warm days of spring.

However, don't make the mistake of thinking that because the mercury is rising, your body is ready to tee off.

Taking a few minutes to warm up is the best way to prevent a nagging back injury that can add strokes to your score, not to mention unnecessary pain and aggravation to your life. In golf, as in other athletic pursuits, warming up raises the temperature of muscles and prepares them for action, says Dr. Gregory S. Rash of Kentucky Online Golf magazine.

Rash recommends walking briskly from your vehicle to the clubhouse as the first step in a warm up. Next, he says, warm up your upper body by performing controlled and rhythmical partial swings with a club. Start your swings slowly, and then gradually increase them to a moderate speed.

Now you're ready for some stretches that will protect your back and prepare those others muscles you've barely used all winter for 18 holes of swinging action.

As the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons points out, the rotational stresses of a golf swing place significant pressure on the spine and back muscles. Even the pros take time to warm up and stretch before starting each round. Fortunately neither takes very long and they are enjoyable, too.

In fact, says the academy, one of the best ways for golfers to stretch their muscles and avoid injury is quite old-fashioned and simple: Before a round of golf, warm up, then get a bucket of balls and hit a few on the driving range.

It not only will help it your game, it will make you healthier and prevent back injuries as well.

More information

The PGA has a number of exercise tips for amateur and professional golfers alike.

SOURCE: Gregory S. Rash, M.D., Kentucky Online Golf; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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