Ageing can come with some negative physical consequences that can make playing golf more of a challenge. But if you’re motivated to keep playing, you can use resistance training to counteract these effects to build a healthier more active version of yourself. You might even improve your game while your at it!
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Seniors need resistance training that is adapted to them and their needs, this is because as we age a series of physiological changes occur. Let’s discuss these changes and how they would effect the exercise selection of an elderly individual looking to improve their golf through resistance training.
The effect of sarcopenia, which is age related muscle loss, is the loss of between 5-10% of muscle mass every year after the age of 50 years old. This results in many elderly individuals becoming frail and weaker, hence why staying physically active and taking part in sports like golf might become more and more challenging as we age. In order to counter act this, it is important to perform hypertrophy training (muscle gain), with this style of training the loss of muscle mass can be prevented, allowing elderly individuals to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, including playing golf. As an example exercise to gain muscle mass would be the DB Floor Press.
Loss of balance and stability can be another symptom of ageing, loss of muscle mass will result in having worse balance and core stability. This again can be rectified through applying specific exercises to work on balance and stability. In this list I have included two stability exercises (pallof press and single arm farmers carry) and one balance exercise (front and back reach). These will enable the development of the core musculature whilst also ensuring hip and knee stability.
Moving the joints through their full range of motion can get more and more challenging as we age, especially when we combine this with a sedentary lifestyle. This can make a great deal of movement we attempt in resistance training more challenging to start with. In golf we need to be able to perform an aggressive rotation of the torso, so this not only needs to be strong, it also needs to be mobile enough to move through the range of motion safely. This means we need to use exercises which are appropriate to restricted ranges of motion, like the box counterbalance squat, but also use exercises which aim at opening up this rotation range of motion like the prone lying pec stretch.
As we age, it can be very common for our physical activity to decline over time. We walk less, we do less tasks around the house, we make small decisions throughout our day that result in less physical activity. This can make golf outings more challenging and even turn them into a physically exerting activity. That is why I would advice seniors who golf to walk a great deal. Walking is shown to be one of the best ways to reduce all cause mortality, so aside from your golfing pursuits, it’s a brilliant practice to develop.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.