News Release

July 25, 2005

Contact: Patrick Keefe, 860-679-2447

Conditioning Helps Improve Golf Scores

Health Center Physical Therapist Suggests Regimen

You might not think so, but swinging that driver or five iron is taking a toll on your body.

“When you’re golfing, you’re still engaging in exercise,” said Anthony Cannavo, athletic trainer and rehabilitation specialist, Rehabilitation Services at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “Golf is a sport and it’s important to treat it as such. There’s a lot more effort and exertion involved, say, than being at your desk at work, and it’s important to be properly conditioned.”

Cannavo recommends golfers undertake a good set of stretches prior to playing. Warming up is important not just to prevent injuries, but to maximize the physical aspects of the game.

Remember on the course to maintain general body awareness. Stretches on the links can ward off tightness and be sure to respond appropriately to what your body’s telling you.

Ideally, he suggests a pre-season conditioning regimen. Undertake exercises that increase strength, improve balance and enhance range of motion. A medicine ball is great for strengthening the core, such as the abdominals, that are important for a golfer’s stability. Range-of-motion, important for the vital backswing and follow-through, can be improved by swinging clubs.

“Doing exercises that address strength, balance and range-of-notion can improve your average and decrease your score as much as a new swing,” Cannavo said.

He also reminds golfers that their exercise program should be moderate and routine and one that allows them to build momentum and follow-through.

“If the program is too ambitious and requires too much time, you’ll soon stop doing it. Select some exercises you’re comfortable with and make the time to do them,” he said. “Your physical health will improve and your golf game along with it.”

Golf injuries mostly involve the joints – the wrist particularly – and the lower back. Wrists are injured through the repeated strain of swinging, plus they absorb the impact of striking the ball. Backs are vulnerable because of the torque and rotation involved in playing the game.

Injuries can be treated by therapy. Conditioning and strength rehabilitation are used as treatment, plus ice or heat depending upon the nature of the hurt.

But the best treatment, he said, is injury prevention.

“Know the ends and outs of your body,” he said. “Stay alert for signs of something that could develop into an injury and take precautions.”

And if you do hurt yourself, know who to see to get it fixed.

“Athletic trainers and rehabilitation specialists can get you better and back on the links,” he said. “Professionals will try to rehabilitate golfers back to functionality, and just as importantly, suggest some preventative measures to keep you and your game in shape.”

Cannavo is available through UConn Rehab Services, 860-679-3233.

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