Back Fitness for Senior Golfers
Back injuries are prevalent among golfers of all ages and especially for senior golfers. Age has a way of letting us know subtly that our bodies no longer react like the good old days of 20 something. The back is one area of our body we can't afford to take for granted. Whether you suffer from minor aches and pains, mild discomfort or even general tightness, your back could be at risk as well as your game.
So how can we protect our backs from the wear and tear of age while creating longevity in golf?
The first thing to check is your posture. If you don't know the right way to sit, stand or lift weight, then you are far from learning the complexities of swing mechanics!
The "perfect swing" is something many attempt to learn by watching or reading a book. Yet, it's a motor skill, which also draws upon your 'feel' for things.
When you first learned to swing a golf club, you might think you were learning things from 'scratch'. But were you?
You already knew how to stand. If you tend to slouch while standing, or if your back muscles were poorly developed, you probably ended up trying to create the "perfect swing" by sight rather than by the feel of things.
Maybe your upper back is making up for your lack of lower back flexibility. Perhaps your lumbar pain results from underdeveloped hips or abs. It doesn't matter where your 'weak link' lies. It always kicks in a series of "compensatory" moves.
These wrong moves are not only an open invitation to injury - they can take you years to correct and refine - if you are blind to the underlying postural flaw.
Experts agree that an erect posture with neural spinal alignment can give you an added rotation of up to 30°. Imagine the extra momentum that would lend to your club head!
Three simple ways to Improve your Swing with Better Posture:
1.Stand Tall! When you slouch, you compromise the normal curvature of the back, which is important for proper joint movement.
Try this simple experiment:Sit on a chair in the bent-over posture. Your shoulders are slouched and the neck protrudes outwards. Try to swing your arms. Most of the movement will come from your elbows, rather than your shoulder joint (which has a bigger range of motion).
Next, sit up straight, with your shoulders squared and your neck in proper alignment with the spine. Your arms will swing freely from the shoulder and rotate freely in any direction.
More importantly, the right posture will keep your back healthy and minimize the sheer forces on the spine - which form the root cause of pain.
2.Bend at the Hips (not at the Back!)
When you bend, make sure your back is in a neutral position. That can only happen if you bend from your hips.
To facilitate this position, make sure your lower abs are properly engaged. Strong abs are the very foundation of a powerful, fluid stroke!
Better balance and coordination help to effectively transfer the momentum of your swing to the ball.
Stabilize your torso by keeping your feet shoulder width apart - having them too close or too far apart will affect your balance.
Learn to shift your weight smoothly from one foot to the other. It will greatly reduce the impact on your lower back.
Finally, do not lean on the toes or roll at the heels. A shaky foundation can kill momentum before your club head strikes the ball.
It may take some time to get accustomed to the new posture. But these simple changes will help you play better golf longer.
Doesn't that make it worthwhile?