Golf is a low-impact sport that is perfect for us seniors looking to stay active and improve or maintain our health. However, golf can still be physically demanding, especially for those over 60.
To get the most out of your game and prevent injury, it's essential to incorporate stretching exercises into your routine. In this blog article, we'll go over some of the best golf exercises for seniors to help improve your golf game and keep you playing for years to come.
Best Stretches for Senior Golfers
Stretching Your Ankles
Ankles are an often-overlooked area of the body used in golf, but they play an important role in your golf game. When you move your weight from one side to the other during your golf swing the ankles play an important role.
To stretch your ankles, sit on the ground with your right leg straight and your left leg bent. Place your left foot flat on the ground and grasp your right toes with both hands.
Gently pull your right foot towards your body until you feel a stretch in your ankle. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Lower Back Stretches for Better Rotation
The lower back is a common area for stiffness and pain in seniors. This is where I tend to have most of my issues and it's probably the same for you. The following exercises are great for keeping that lower back loose.
Seated Spinal Twist:
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and cross it over your left leg, placing your right foot flat on the floor.
- Twist your torso to the right, placing your right hand on the floor behind you for support.
- Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee.
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Lying Knee-to-Chest Stretch:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Bring one knee up towards your chest, holding it with both hands.
- Hold for 15-30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Arch your back towards the ceiling (cat) and then sag it towards the ground (cow).
- Move between these positions slowly for 30 seconds to a minute.
Child's Pose with Rotation:
- Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Sit back on your heels, reaching your arms out in front of you.
- Now thread one arm under the other, rotating the torso.
- Keep the other arm extended or use it to push slightly for a deeper stretch.
- Hold for 15-30 seconds on each side.
Supine Spinal Twist:
- Lie on your back with your legs extended.
- Raise one knee and use the opposite hand to gently pull it across your body.
- Extend the other arm out to the side.
- Turn your head to face the extended arm, keeping both shoulders on the ground.
- Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your glutes and push your lower back into the floor, then relax and allow your back to arch slightly.
- Perform this movement slowly for 30 seconds to a minute.
The Lunge Stretch: Improving Your Balance and Flexibility
The Lunge Stretch is an excellent exercise that not only strengthens your lower body but also improves your balance and flexibility, which are critical for daily activities and sports performance.
I'm not going to lie, this one is a little tough but with practice you'll soon master this stretch.
Starting Position: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Engage your core muscles to maintain a straight posture.
Step Forward: Take a big step forward with your right foot. Keep your left foot in its place.
Lower Your Body: Bend your right knee and lower your body towards the ground. Your left knee should also bend and move towards the ground but not touch it. Make sure your right knee is directly over your right ankle, and not extending past your toes.
Hip Flexor Stretch: For a deeper stretch, slightly tilt your pelvis forward and gently push your hips down and forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of your left hip.
Maintain Balance: Keep your chest up and shoulders relaxed. You can place your hands on your hips or extend them out to the sides or front for balance.
Hold the Stretch: Hold this position for about 15-30 seconds.
Return to Starting Position: Push off your front foot to lift your body and return to the starting position.
Repeat on the Other Side: Perform the lunge with your left foot stepping forward.
Complete the Set: Repeat the stretch on each side for a total of 3-5 times.
The Weighted Golf Swing
A weighted golf swing refers to a training technique that involves using a heavier club or training aid to perform practice swings.
The idea behind this method is to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve the swing mechanics of a golfer. Swing the weighted club 15-20 times to build muscle strength and memory.
Golf Stretch with Club
This stretch is great for increasing the mobility and flexibility in your thoracic spine, which is critical for maintaining a good posture and a full range of motion during your golf swing. Additionally, it can help to relieve tension in your lower back.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a golf club horizontally in front of your chest with both hands, making sure your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and the club is close to your chest.
Rotation: Keeping your lower body and hips stationary, rotate your upper body to the right as far as you can. Ensure the golf club stays parallel to the ground. Hold this position for a few seconds, feeling the stretch in your torso.
Return to Center: Slowly bring your torso back to the center position.
Rotate to the Other Side: Now, rotate your upper body to the left as far as you can while keeping your hips facing forward. Again, hold this position for a few seconds to feel the stretch in your torso.
Repetition: Return to the center position and repeat the rotations for about 10-15 times on each side.
Why Stretching is Important for Senior Golfers
Benefits of Stretching for Older Golfers
Stretching is an essential part of any exercise routine, and it's especially important for seniors. As we age, our muscles and joints become stiffer, and range of motion decreases.
Regular stretching can help maintain flexibility, increase range of motion, and prevent injury. I have found stretching to be one of the most, if not the most, important part of my golf game.
Flexibility is crucial for a good swing. Without it, distance is limited and accuracy is also affected.
How Can Stretching Improve Your Golf Game?
Stretching before a round of golf can help improve your game in several ways. It can help increase your overall flexibility, which can lead to a smoother and more fluid swing.
Stretching can also improve your balance and stability, making it easier to maintain a solid stance throughout your swing.
I have a friend in his 80's who still has "pop" in his swing because he stays in shape. He walks the 18 holes, eats a nutritious lunch during the round to maintain his stamina and makes sure to stay hydrated. Without stretching he would not be able to maintain his swing the way he does.
When is the Right Time to Stretch?
Stretching on a regular basis 3-4 days a week is ideal. To get the most out of your game definitely try to stretch before a round of golf or a practice session.
Stretching helps increase blood flow to the muscles and prepares your body for physical activity. It's also a good idea to stretch after a round of golf to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
I also add in a massage and chiropractic session at least twice a month. I find this to be ideal for keeping my body limber and in proper adjustment. I try to do the massage a day or two before seeing the chiropractor. My doctor says I get more bang from the session after the massage instead of the other way around.
The Importance of a Good Golf Swing
Senior Golfer Swing Techniques: What to Keep in Mind
A good golf swing is essential for improving your game and preventing injury. Senior golfers should focus on maintaining a smooth, fluid swing and avoiding jerky movements. To improve your swing speed, focus on swinging with your whole body, not just your arms.
The Role of Golf Clubs in Your Swing
The right golf clubs can also play a significant role in your swing. Make sure you're using clubs that are appropriate for your skill level and physical abilities. A professional fitting can help ensure your clubs are the right length, weight, and flex.
The Right Time to Practice Your Swing
The best time to practice your swing is during the warm-up period before a round of golf or at the driving range. It's also a good idea to practice your swing on a regular basis to help improve your technique.
The Mayo Clinic’s Recommended Exercises for Senior Golfers
The Importance of Exercise for Senior Golfers
Exercise is essential for seniors looking to maintain their health and improve their golf game. The Mayo Clinic recommends a combination of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises to help improve your overall physical fitness.
Exercises for Senior Golfers to Reduce Back Pain
Back pain is a common problem for many seniors and can be particularly challenging for golfers. To reduce back pain, try exercises that focus on strengthening your core muscles, such as planks and bridges. It's also important to maintain good posture throughout your golf swing.
Stretches and Exercises to Improve Your Golf Game
In addition to the stretches mentioned above, there are several other exercises that can help improve your golf game. Try exercises that focus on strengthening your legs, hips, and core muscles, such as squats and lunges.
Yoga and Pilates are also known to be great options for seniors looking to improve their flexibility and strengthen their muscles. I have done some Yoga and Pilates but not enough to be able to speak to their effectiveness.
Stretching Exercises for Golfers Over 60 - FAQ's
Is golf a good sport for seniors?
Yes, golf is considered a great sport for seniors because it is low-impact and can be played at a relaxed pace. It also provides numerous health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health and reducing stress.
What are some simple golf warm-up exercises I can do before a round?
Some simple golf warm-up exercises include swinging a weighted golf club, doing some light jogging or walking, and hitting some golf balls at the driving range. These exercises can help get your muscles and joints ready for a full golf swing.
How can I improve my flexibility for golf?
You can improve your flexibility for golf by doing regular stretching and strength training exercises, such as yoga, Pilates, and resistance band workouts. These exercises can help improve your range of motion and reduce your risk of injury on the golf course.
Bonus Question - What is the best way to prevent injuries while playing golf?
The best way to prevent injuries while playing golf is to start each round with some warm-up exercises, use proper technique when swinging the club, take breaks when needed, and stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s also important to listen to your body and to know your limits.
Incorporating stretching exercises into the routine of golfers over 60 is great for not only enhancing performance but also for ensuring a healthier and more enjoyable experience on the golf course.
As we age, maintaining flexibility, strength, and balance becomes critical. These tailored stretching exercises, when practiced regularly, can significantly improve your range of motion, reduce the risk of injuries, and assist in achieving a more fluid and powerful golf swing.
Moreover, these exercises contribute to the general well-being of senior golfers, enabling them to continue pursuing their passion for golf with vigor and grace. As golf is a game that can be enjoyed well into the later years of life, it's important that golfers over 60 embrace these stretching exercises as an integral component of their golf fitness regimen.