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Swing Into Summer

Tee-off tips to avoid injuries on the links

Compared with "extreme" sports like whitewater rafting, golf seems almost sedentary. What's so hard about riding around in a golf cart between swings? Plenty of players don't even carry their own clubs.

In reality, golfers are susceptible to plenty of muscle, joint and connective tissue injuries. Dr. James Bragman blames many of these injuries on the unnatural movements peculiar to golf. "It is probably the only sport in which your nondominant side is the power side -- a right-handed golfer derives most of his or her power from the left side," he says. As a result, "muscles that are not used as often are subjected to greater demands."

In a feature from the Detroit Free Press, Bragman says that golfers who want a powerful swing and a good stance should work on strengthening areas of their body that may be overlooked, the legs, abdominal muscles and lower back, for example.

A news service feature appearing in The Record from Bergen County, N.J., outlines a set of general stretching and warm-up exercises for golfers. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons describes some simple exercises designed to prevent two of the most common golf injuries: golfer's elbow and lower back pain.

The medical journal The Physician and Sportsmedicine describes golfing injuries in detail and makes recommendations for treating specific problems. It also offers tips on avoiding future injuries through exercise or changes in technique and equipment.

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