How Golf Lovers Can Keep Swinging Long Past Retirement Age

Incorporating simple golf exercises for senior golfers will keep you out on the greens, doing what you love for years to come. Let’s face it, at any age, swinging a golf club puts notable tension on the joints of the lower back, hips as well as the shoulders. After all, it is not a “normal” movement of the human body, is it? Millions of dollars spent by duffers in search of the perfect swing will tell us that.

When we get older — as we all will do — our bodies lose muscle endurance and muscle mass, range of motion,and possibly balance. It really stinks. But there is good news; with targeted exercise you can continue to enjoy the game longer than previous generations.

By the way, these exercises are great for golfers at any age. They are simply recommended as top performers for seniors, a senior being defined by the books as people over 50. (Harsh. I think that could be pushed back a few years.) Fortunately , males and females older than the age of 50 can build strength and establish muscle at the same rate as much younger adults.

Why would you want to start exercises if you are doing well right now? The best answer is because injuries are unpredictable. Every game, every movement, adds to the total number of times preceding a problem, if no action is taken to prevent it. Here are some facts:

Injury Statistics

  • More than 60 percent of amateur golf players have sustained one or even more golf-related injuries over the course of their playing years.
  • The above number is higher for players over the age of fifty.
  • The average duration of the injury is at least 5 weeks.

The goal here is to provide you with step-by-step, easy to remember actions and how they benefit you. Bookmark this page for reference.

Every golf outing, as with any sport, should begin with warm up stretches. For golfers you also need to include stretching your non-dominant side: swing the club with your other arm a few times. Swinging with a weighted club is also good.

Warm Up Statistics

Warming up before golfing has been shown to decrease the incidence of golf injuries. One survey showed that over 80 percent of golfers spent less than 10 minutes warming up before a round. Those who did warm up had less than half the incidence of injuries of those who did not warm up before playing. Lower handicap and professional golfers were more than twice as likely to warm up for more than 10 minutes as compared to other golfers. From sportsmed.org

Over all, the best exercise components consist of:

Stretching

  • To increase flexibility
  • Help maintain balance
  • Prevent injury

Seated Torso Stretch

Sit on a firm high-back chair, like a kitchen chair. Fold your arms at chest height and do not use them as you turn your torso smoothly to the left, keeping your head in alignment with the movement. Return smoothly to the center, then repeat turning to the right. Do up to 45 times a day; you can break it into 3 sets of 15.

Rotated Hip Stretch

Lie on a solid surface with knees bent, feet flat on floor,arms at sides with palms facing the floor, toes pointed inward. Next, simply lift up by pushing on your feet, lifting the pelvis. Hold for a slow count of ten, then smoothly return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times daily.

Back and Arm Stretch

Stand facing a sturdy chair or object that won’t tip over, with your feet shoulder width apart. You could also use a door frame or post, if there is room to bend backward. Bend down and away from the object, keeping your back and arms straight, until you feel the stretch in both your back and arms. Hold the stretch for several seconds before returning to the start position in a controlled manner. Repeat 8-10 times. 

Core Strength Exercises

  • To build strength
  • Improve movement
  • Provide good overall conditioning

Leg Circles

Leg Circles: this is a core exercise that also helps open the hips. Lie on one side with your lower arm up over your head and the other arm balancing you on the floor. Next, raise the upper leg as far as comfortable with the toe pointed. Make small circles, about 12 inches in diameter, with the pointed toe. Do 10 times clockwise, then ten times counter-clockwise. Repeat with the other leg. Work up to 3 sets per day.

Reverse Crunch

Reverse Crunch: Lie on a solid surface, hands clasped behind your head with knees bent. To “reverse” the crunch, bring your knees to your chest in a controlled movement, then return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 20 at least 3 times per week.

Squats

Squat: Stand with feet should width apart with arms extended in front of you. Alternatively, place one arm on the back of a sturdy chair for balance. Next, bend the knees while pushing out your rear end, bending down as far as possible with control. Rise back to a standing position using only your legs as power. The control you have over the movement, and using your legs, is more important than how far you squat. Do 3 sets of 20 at least 3 times a week.

Weight Bearing Exercises

Walking Lunges

Use light dumbbells, or even a couple of soup cans. Start in a standing position with your arms at your sides. Next, step forward with your right leg. Bend at the knee, bringing your body over the knee and bend your left knee toward the ground. Go as low as you can without losing balance or control of the movement. Push up to standing with the right knee. Repeat 10-12 times, then lunge with the left leg. Do at least 3 sets 3 times perweek

Lateral Rows

Still using your dumbbells or cans, you will need a flat surface about knee high, like a bench. Holding the weight in your left hand, place your right knee and hand on the bench with your left left slightly bent. Drop the left arm; that will be your staring point. Exhale as you pull the weight straight up in a rowing motion; the goal is to work the latissimus dorsi muscle. Pretend you are trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold , then smoothly return to the starting position. Do 3 sets per side of 12-15 reps 3 times per week.

Triceps Curl

Sit straddling the bench, hold your dumbbell/can with both hands straight up over your head. Maintaining control of the movement, lower the weight behind your head as far as you are able to (again) keep a controlled movement. Repeat 10-15 times, doing 3 sets 3 times per week. 

A note about controlled movements: It cannot be stressed enough that control of movement is key. So often you see people in the gym who think they are exercising so well at a fast pace. Well, no. Usually they begin using other parts of the body to help (like a swinging or rocking motion, using the momentum they have built up), at which point they are not the muscles being targeted so the exercise is really going to waste. If you find yourself needing to rock in order to complete a movement. resist the temptation. Slow down if you need to, or use a lighter weight. Only do movements you can control in both going up and down, or down then back up again.

Cardio Activity

Include brisk walks, jogging, bike rides, hikes, and any activities you enjoy daily. Your heart muscle appreciates it. As far as what maximum heart rate is safe for you, check with your health care provider if you have concerns. Generally an activity that still allows you to be able to talk, is safe. Here is a simple guideline to help, as well.

Find Your Optimal Heart Rate

  • Subtract your age from 220, then subtract 20% of that number.
  • For example, the stats for a 60 year-old: 220 minus 60 = 160. Subtract 20%, which is 32, for a total of 128 beats per minute.
  • The rates can be adjusted for very sedentary or very active people, plus is different for men and women.
Last Note

As stated, golf exercises for senior golfers can be used by people of any age. And they are not limited to golf; these routines are great for racket sports, water sports, and even gardening and grocery shopping is more enjoyable when your body is stronger.Try these exercises and see how much more fit you will feel in a few short months.

Golfers: See you on the back nine!

References

Cardio Calculator

 

About the author

Sherry Bell