Older people are taking up golf and it is one of the fastest-growing segments of the golfing population with about one quarter now in their mature years.
Many people assume that golf is a leisurely walk around a field, interrupted by hitting a ball a few times and then with a drink in the bar at the end. But bear this in mind, thousands of older golfers find themselves in A & E every year with back, shoulder and knee injuries.
It is estimated that six out of ten recreational golfers and even more senior golfers will experience a golfing injury and that the average weekend golfer will lose about 155 days of playing time while they are recovering.
This does not mean that you should take up more sedentary pastimes like chess, as you get older, far from it. Golf is a low impact sport and great way for the aging body to keep in trim. However it is more physically demanding than many people realise. When you swing at the ball the club accelerates to over 100mph in less than half a second and your body rotates through more than 180 degrees putting huge stress on the muscles, tendons, ligament’s of almost every joint in the body.
Many of the injuries associated with amateur golfers are caused by a combination of factors. These are bad technique, excessive play, too much repetition on the practice range; poor conditioning and insufficient warm up. If you are one of those golfers who think the first three holes is the warm up, think again.
The best way to avoid injury is to get in shape before you get on the course.
Regular exercise and particularly stretching and strength conditioning is the best way to help reduce golfing injuries. The use of lightweights such as training with a pair of dumbbells is a simple and cheap way of conditioning the body. More elaborate machines that can be used are the popular functional trainers such as the Inspire FT1 Functional Trainer. Functional Trainers allow you to move weights through the range of motion that simulates exactly the movement associated with your sport. Athletic training should be individualized, based on age and medical conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease and you must never over do it. A golfer should consult with a doctor before starting exercise programs. Another thing that can reduce injury is correct technique, so get some lessons.
Golf is a great sport for older adults and there is no reason why a person cannot play well into their 70’s 80’s and even their 90’s. But never forget an injured golfer does not play golf, they sit at home and watch it on TV.