Whether you’re a player or a spectator, walking a golf course presents a unique set of fitness challenges. Greg Reinhardt, golfer and physical therapist, provides a few tips for making the most of your time on the green:
1. Stretch before you go: A golf course includes a number of different terrains, from hills to different thicknesses of grass, which all work your muscles differently. Gently stretching your calf muscles, hamstrings, and quads will get your lower body warmed up and ready for the extra challenge.
2. Do a few gentle rotational exercises: golfing 18 holes takes an average of 4 hours, and standing for that long can lead to a stiff back, especially if you’re carrying a bag of golf clubs over your shoulder. Warm up your spine with a few gentle rotational exercises, such as crossing your arms across your body and twisting side to side.
3. Posture is important: with all the hills and slopes on a golf course, it’s especially important to be aware of keeping good posture and body alignment. Try to keep your core muscles engaged to support your back, and be aware of holding your weight evenly on both feet-not shifting your body weight to one foot or the other.
4. Change up your pace: no you can’t break into a sprint on the course, but changing up your pace even a little by walking more or less briskly between holes will still activate different muscle patterns and keep you from tiring out.
5. Stay hydrated: not only will you be on your feet for a long time while walking a course, but you’re likely to spend a lot of time under the sun, so staying hydrating is essential. Fill up your water bottle before you start or keep a fitness drink that’s high in electrolytes in your bag. Fluids provide your muscles with the energy they need to work with the same power and efficiency from beginning to end. Who needs a golf cart?