Hitting the Greens in Cold Weather

Be sure to do warm-up exercises to protect swinging arm

SUNDAY, March 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Golf may not be considered the most rigorous of sports, but warming up for a game is as important as for any other physical activity, especially in cold weather, experts say.

Since muscles can contract when it's cold, it's necessary to warm your body's temperature even before stretching, say experts with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). With all of the walking that can be necessary in golfing, the sport lends itself to getting and staying warmed up, especially if you skip that ride on the golf cart whenever possible.

Once the temperature of your blood increases, your muscles will be more receptive to stretching and less likely to tear on that first ambitious swing.

When you feel warmed up, try finding a bench and doing exercises to further warm up your neck, shoulders, trunk and legs. Experts recommend that at least 20 minutes should be spent warming up and stretching before a golf workout.

Not only should you warm up before the day's game, you ideally should start that exercise routine several weeks in advance, right at the same time each day that you expect to be playing golf, advises the APTA.

Try walking three to four times a week for about 20 to 30 minutes a day, the APTA suggests, and start practicing your grip and back swing. Keep the club at waist level and slowly increase to a full swing. And start with a lighter club, gradually working your way up to the heavier irons.

Experts say including any type of light aerobic conditioning and strength training in your lifestyle are great ways to prevent injuries, while probably helping you improve stamina and skill in your game of choice.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on how to prevent golf injuries.

SOURCE: American Physical Therapy Association
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