Baby Boomers account for almost 60 per cent of the golf population at clubs across Australia (Golf Australia 2018 Participation Report). This means that the majority of club golfers are between 55 and 75 years old.
As we age, our bodies experience a phenomenon called Sarcopenia, otherwise known as muscular atrophy, which is basically a progressive loss of muscle over time. This reduction in muscle mass is largely due to a decline in naturally occurring testosterone in both men and women. As our muscle-mass decreases, so does our strength, our endurance and our balance. Due to the loss of muscle, there is also an increased risk of injury because our skeletal structures simply don’t have the musculature or the strength to support us anymore.
Now you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out how weakness, poor balance and a lack of endurance would impact your golf game. The good news is, there is a lot you can do to dramatically slow down the effects of muscular atrophy.
So where do we start? The answer is very simple: resistance training.
The Victorian Government recently published the physical and mental health benefits that could be achieved through resistance training, and the results were astonishing. These include, but are not limited to: increased strength, increased metabolism (your body will burn more calories at rest!), improved mobility and balance, improved posture, decreased risk of injury, improved sleep and avoidance of insomnia, increased self-esteem, greater stamina, enhanced performance of daily tasks, enhanced sport performance, prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity and reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older adults.
This is the “magic pill” we have all been waiting for and it is going to help every aspect of your golf game, including hitting the ball further, not to mention boost your health. So what are you waiting for?
There are many ways to perform a meaningful resistance training program. Some of these include body weight exercise, resistance bands, free weights, machine weights and much more. The key here is to ensure that, no matter what method of training you choose, the resistance is high enough to create enough stress on your muscles to achieve the maximum benefit from the exercise. As a general rule, if you perform 12 repetitions of an exercise to the point of fatigue you will be hitting the sweet spot for optimal muscle gain.
As with any exercise program you perform, you should consult a professional to ensure that the program you undertake is safe for you based on your physical and medical attributes. It is also highly important to ensure that the program is structured specifically for you, with your goals in mind, ensuring that you achieve the maximum benefit in the least amount of time.
So whether you’re a Baby Boomer trying to put the ‘boom’ back in the baby, or you’re a Gen Y wanting to stay forever young and hit it past your mates, head to the gym, get some professional advice and start resistance training today.
For more information on resistance training programs that will keep you golf fit, check out these exercises from Oliver or e-mail him at [email protected].
*With nearly 20 years’ experience as a player, Oliver Yourn’s interests now lie in helping other golfers achieve their goals through specialist golf fitness programs and training. As a strength and conditioning coach, he has worked with Asian Tour and tier 1 Australasian Tour professionals. See FitGolf.com.au for more.