The relationship between golf and a healthy lifestyle is well known. It is one of the few sports that every generation is able to play. Putting golf courses in towns, like the Miguel Ángel Jiménez course in Torremolinos, with accessible prices has reduced the stigma surrounding the sport which in Spain is stereotypically seen as one for wealthy people.
A big reason for this rise in interest in playing golf is that several health experts recommend it for helping with all sorts of illnesses.
“Golf is a sport which carries many health benefits, given that it is played outdoors, in fresh air, and this has lots of advantages like combating stress, producing endorphins, strengthening relationships, and it involves lots of walking around. It also helps with muscle toning and it gets your joints moving,” Antonio González, sport physiotherapist and director of the Instituto de Reabilitación Especializada, outlines when describing the benefits of golf. “We recommend this sport to patients who are overweight and those with heart problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among other things,” González adds.
On the other hand, this surge in golf fans has brought about the same kinds of problems that the increase in runners does: misinformation and poor planning of a golf session can create physical discomfort and even injuries.
As a result, specialists always advise that despite the health benefits playing golf brings, there are certain rules for practice which need to be followed to avoid injury and pain.
“Warming up before playing golf is so important to oxygenate the muscles that you're going to use and to prevent potential injuries which come as a result of not properly preparing. Equally important is stretching after exercise,” González explains.
This vital step is so often skipped by fans of the sport, who consider golf to be a tame sport where all you do is go out and take a walk.
As a result, injuries like epicondylitis, or golfers elbow, can happen. “This injury occurs when there is hyperflexing in the elbow, which blocks the joints and causes inflammation,” says González, who also warns his golf-playing patients about other health risks connected to the sport, such as those related to the wrist.
“When you don't learn the proper techniques for taking a swing, you can often over strain the muscles in your wrist, especially the extensor muscles, which can cause blockages in joins or muscle contractions,” he warns.
Other injuries associated with golf include back pain and tendonitis of the shoulder. The vast majority of these issues are completely avoidable as long as players make sure that they warm up properly before playing and stretch fully afterwards, and they perfect their technique.