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With the snowdrifts beginning to disappear, and the temperature warming up, it’s time again to consider cleaning up the clubs and equipment for spring. Our bodies need this same type of maintenance to get them ready for the season. If you become a “couch potato” in the winter, you may want to consider a few things to make that early transition in the next season’s golf a little easier.

Continuing a conditioning program during the winter months will not only help to enhance a good start to the season, but will help deter possible injuries (i.e., strains and sprains) going from a sedentary winter to an active spring. The key to any conditioning program is consistency; so pick something you will enjoy, and possibly get a friend to join you to keep you accountable to a regular routine. It is far easier, safer and smarter to maintain and enhance good physical health that to try to pick up where you left off after a long sabbatical. There is less risk of injury and it’s a lot less work. The following are general considerations when planning a program to enhance your golf game.

1. Begin with a mild aerobic-type warm-up exercise for 20-30 minutes. Some conditioning exercises are: cross-country skiing, swimming, walking, cycling and running. Fortunately, all these can be simulated indoors when the weather isn’t cooperating.
2. Stretching is the next component to consider in your program. This should be done directly after warm-up. Start easy and gradually increase your range of motion (no bouncing). Be sure to involve both sides of your body equally and hold stretches for 8-10 seconds. If you are nursing a neck or back condition, do not bend your neck or back forward more than 45 degrees, for this adds undue stress to the areas. One tip for the forward motion low back stretches is to do them sitting down. This allows for safe range of motion with the least stress.
3. Now it’s time to add some resistance and weight training for toning and strength. It’s very important to have correct posture when performing these exercises and go through the full range of motion of both sides of the body. It is best to begin with resistance training first, then move on the weights.
4. A good cool down for the golf enthusiast involves swinging a club for 5-10 minutes, alternating with both the right and left sides of the body.

If you are nursing an injury this season, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the “time-off” will be the cure all. Take advantage of the time to rehabilitate so you’ll not only be in better shape by spring, but you will have less chance of re-injury. Seek the advice of a competent professional and then go for it!

I hope this has given you food for thought. Above all, DON’T DROP THE BALL; in other words, keep a year-round program a priority, and I know you won’t be disappointed. Happy golfing!