Golf for Health
Golf Your Way to a Leaner, Healthier Body tips from Julieta Stack
Here are a few ways you can use golf to improve your fitness and well-being. The best thing about golf is that it's fun and you won't feel like you are "working out."
Here are some interesting facts from A Denver Post article by Greg Henry....
"In a 2004 study by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, "The golfer who currently plays four days a week while riding a cart could expend nearly 3,000 more calories a week if he or she walks the course," said Dr. Scott Lephart, director of the UPMC golf fitness laboratory. "(That) could result in a loss of 9 pounds of body weight over three months."
A 20-week study by the American Journal of Medicine in 2000 of 55 golfers age 48 to 64 found that those who walked 18 holes two or three times a week for five months increased their aerobic endurance, lost an average of 3 pounds more than a control group, had lower body fat and higher levels of the good cholesterol, HDL, according to a "Golf After 50" report on the PGA Tour's website.
Dr. Wade Aubry wrote in Golf Digest that "playing golf with a power cart burns between 2.5 and 3.7 calories per minute while playing golf walking burns between 5 and 8.5 calories per minute."
In a typical round, a golfer can expect to walk 5 or 6 miles, more than the recommended 10,000 steps a day, based on an average of 2,000 steps per mile.
For the golfer who has been a regular cart rider, health experts advise taking it slow and building up to walking the entire course.
"I advise golfers do their homework ahead of time," said Stacy Montgomery, fitness director at the McGetrick Academy and owner of New Directions Personal Training.
Some suggestions to get started:
Walk for 20 minutes to start and work up to 45 minutes, Montgomery says. The key, she says, is to "not get fatigued and frustrated."
When you do start walking the course, walk the front nine holes and switch with your cart partner and ride the back nine
Montgomery recommends golfers do plenty of stretching before, during and after a round. Stretching the hamstrings ("tight hamstrings can cause back pain and limit range of motion in the swing"), quadriceps and calves are essential for the golfer, she advises.
Montgomery also advises using a push cart because "carrying a bag will definitely add to fatigue."
More good news for golfers who want to walk: equipment the past 10 years has made it easier. Lightweight bags and the new "speed carts" put less strain on the golfer's back, legs, hips and arms.
The Sun Mountain golf equipment company developed lightweight "stand bags" in the 1980s, but perhaps its biggest innovation was the "speed cart" in 1999. The three-wheeled push cart "was designed to provide an ergonomic alternative for golfers who want to walk the course but do not want to carry their clubs," Steve Snyders, a Sun Mountain spokesman, said via e-mail. The traditional two-wheeled pull cart was awkward and often forces "the golfer to use shoulder muscles to balance and straighten the path of the cart. Speed Cart allows the efficient transfer energy from the natural walking position to the wheels, thereby reducing fatigue and allowing the shoulder muscles to be saved for the golf swing."
It didn't hurt that Sun Mountain's chief designer, owner and founder, Rick Reimers, is a former golf pro.
"We were confident that we really hit a home run with the design of the Speed Cart and did not release the product until we were extremely satisfied with its design and functionality," Snyders added.
Other companies have followed suit with similar designs, so there's a variety of carts at various prices available at metro-area golf shops.
Staff writer Greg Henry can be reached at 303-954-1210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walking the course and using the right stuff
For more information on walking the golf course and equipment, visit:
sunmountain.com and bagboycompany.com
Golf equipment companies for bags and carts
The magazine's August issue included a 29-page health guide
Forum for golfers who like to walk the course
Helpful tips and how to get a program started
United States Golf Association
To order "A Call to Feet: Golf Is a Walking Game," an informative booklet on the benefits of walking the golf course, call 800-336-4446
Useful resources on many golf-related health issues from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
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