This science-based stretching routine can stop golfers getting injured in cold weather
Welcome to Play Smart, a new game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Director of Game Improvement content Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.
Whether you’re stuck somewhere that can truly be classified as a “cold weather state”, or are enjoying yourself down in the south, remarking about how you’ll need a light sweater now for your slightly-chilly winter rounds, a drop in temperature can nevertheless have negative effects your body that can cause injury.
But exercising in cold weather can have a number of health benefits, too, like the lower temperatures keeping your heart from working as hard. That in turn puts less stress on it, and can even help you burn weight easier, as Dr. Adam Tenforde, an assistant professor of sports medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, explains to Harvard Health Publishing below:
“In colder temperatures your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, you sweat less, and expend less energy, all of which means you can exercise more efficiently.”
So with staying indoors not an option, the best way tp get the best of all worlds is to simply warm-up your body effectively.
We’ve written in the past about how golfers often make the mistake of “static” stretching — a term used to describe the process of stretching one part of your body while keeping the rest of your body still. If you’re unclear about what static stretching is, think about the traditional hamstring stretch; that’s a static stretch, and while it serves a purpose, stretching like this before you play golf could actually hurt your game.
The key for golfers — especially those playing in cold weather — is “dynamic” stretching. A movement like a lunge, for instance, which gets your heart pumping and sends blood rushing to your muscles.
Which is why in the same article Dr. Tenford goes on to outline a simple four-stretch routine anybody can do before they exercise outside — including golfers, before they hit the range or the first tee.
1. 10 Arm Circles
Stand up straight and extend your arms fully out to your sides, like an airplane. Make small circles with your arms and gradually make the circles larger until your arms are moving all the way around your shoulders, like a helicopter.
2. 20 Arm Swings
Get into your golf posture and set your arms in front of you without a club. Move them back and forth — like you’re making a golf swing — allowing your hips to turn naturally along the way.
3. 10 High Steps
Get into your golf stance and then stand upright. Lift your right leg into your chest as high as it can go, then return to the ground and do the same with your left leg. Repeat one after the other.
4. 10 Lunges
Stand upright with your hands on your hips and take a step forward with your left leg and bend at the knee until your right knee touches the ground, and then return to upright. Repeat with alternating legs.