As we get older, our bodies need targeted exercise to maintain and improve the flexibility, balance, strength, and coordination required for peak golf performance. Without proper fitness, senior golfers face higher risks of common injuries like low back and shoulder pain. Staying active is also key for maintaining mobility and energy levels to play 18 holes.
Incorporating just 20-30 minutes of exercise most days of the week can make a big impact. Focus on a mix of core stability, lower body strength, rotational movement, balance, and flexibility training. Here are my top 8 recommended exercises specifically targeted for senior golfers:
This warmup exercise mobilizes the shoulder joints and increases range of motion. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms straight out to the sides. Initiate movement from the shoulders and make slow, controlled circular motions about the diameter of a hula hoop forward for 10 repetitions. Reverse the movement for 10 circles backward.
Rotational exercises improve the ability to unwind the core during the backswing and downswing. Sit tall near the edge of a chair with feet flat. Extend your arms straight in front of you. Engage your abs. Slowly twist your upper body to the right until you feel mild tension, hold for 2 seconds, then reverse the twist to the left side.
Limited wrist mobility negatively impacts swing mechanics. Extend one arm straight out with palm facing forward. Use the other hand to gently pull back the extended hand, feeling a mild stretch in the forearm. Hold for 30 seconds.
This exercise strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles. Lie on your back with knees bent and arms extended by your sides. Squeeze your glutes and push down through your heels to raise your hips up into a bridge position. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Slowly lower back down.
The plank is highly effective for building core stability to resist twisting and torque during the swing. Start in an extended push-up position, resting on your forearms with a straight line from head to heels. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, breathing deeply. Work towards slowly increasing the length of time you hold.
Squats increase strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Press through your heels to return to start.
Stronger calf muscles provide stability for swinging. Stand facing a wall, place hands on it for balance. Raise up onto your toes, hold for 2 seconds, then lower.
Lunges improve balance and leg muscle endurance for walking 18 holes. From standing, step back with one leg and lower until your front knee is bent at 90 degrees. Push off the front foot to return to start. Repeat for 10 reps then switch legs.
Consistency and proper form are key – it’s better to do these exercises correctly 2-3 times per week than every day with poor technique. Listen to your body and start slow. Stretch after exercise and refuel with a healthy snack. With time, these strength and mobility exercises will help senior golfers play their best while protecting against injury.
How can a senior get back in shape for golf after a year off?
- Progress gradually with your exercise routine and on the course. Don’t overdo it early on.
- Focus on flexibility training for the shoulders, back, hips and legs.
- Walk regularly to increase cardiovascular endurance.
- Strengthen your core muscles with bridges, planks.
- Practice balance drills like swinging while standing on one leg.
- Add weight training 2-3 times per week for major muscle groups.
- Use the driving range to refine your swing technique. Start with shorter clubs.
- Incorporate swimming or water aerobics as low-impact exercise options.
- Stretch thoroughly after playing/practicing.
- Take rest days for proper recovery.
Is golf a good exercise for older people?
Golf is a great exercise for seniors because it provides moderate physical activity that improves flexibility, endurance, and strength while accommodating joint limitations. The social and mental benefits also support older adult health and wellbeing. Overall, golf is an excellent option to help seniors stay active as they age.