If you suffer from arthritis, there is great news for you! You do not have to quit playing golf. Actually, the sport can help improve the symptoms of arthritis and add strength and mobility
Exercise has been found to be one of the best ways to treat osteoarthritis. Exercise can help your mood, act as a pain reliever, increase your flexibility, help you to maintain your weight, improve your cardiovascular system, and make you generally healthier!
Osteoarthritis normally comes on very gradually. First, joints may be sore after working hard physically, or exercising. Any joint may be affected by osteoarthritis, but it usually occurs in the hands, hips, knees, or spine.
Yes. All of the areas that osteoarthritis usually affects are used in playing golf.
Don’t let it worry you though. Playing golf can also help increase your balance and your range of motion. If you walk the golf course, you will benefit your health even more! That is why this is one of the exercises that is recommended for someone with osteoarthritis!
Here is what you need to remember – there are many special products that are produced just to make golf easier on your joints and body.
The Arthritis Foundation or arthritis.org has some tips for arthritic golfers that can help you enjoy golfing and they even suggest products that can enable you to enjoy it even more!
Wrist braces and gloves are a great tool to wear when you play golf. Stabilizing the joints in your hands and wrists will help your osteoarthritis and both of these items are not very expensive.
A lower compression ball is also a great training aid, and wearing spikeless golf shoes may be much more comfortable for you.
Ask your local golf store associate or golf pro if there are any products that they recommend to make golf easier on your joints. There are new products introduced all the time.
It is very important to always warm up before you play. Stretch your muscles and swing a few times for practice. Swing half-strength at first and don’t try to hit the ball too hard. Everyone should warm up and start swinging slowly. A hard swing is not necessary, it is accuracy that is most important! Use tees when you play, it will help.
Water is very important for any golf player while you are playing. When you begin to feel tired, rest a bit. It is not a rule that you have to play all 18 holes, you need to make sure you enjoy the game.
When you feel sore after you play, here are a few tips to relieve your pain and stiffness.
• A warm shower can feel great on stiff muscles.
• Gently stretch your muscles.
• Apply an ice pack to any sore areas.
• Sore joints need to be rested.
• Magnetic therapy has been found to work.
• Keep your weight at a healthy level. Carrying too much weight, can make your hips and knees hurt
If you are still in pain for more than 1 hour after playing, then you need to consult your physician or physical therapist. Work with them to see if there are ways to adjust your game if you notice any of the following symptoms of over exercise:
Unexplained or chronic tiredness. Feeling weak. Decreased range of motion. Joint swelling increases. Pain that continues for more than one hour after excercising.
Actually, golf coupled with proper warm ups can really help your osteoarthritis and it is fun too!
john savage is a former health education official.
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