Golf has a reputation for being relaxing and mostly sedentary. And, while it is a lower-impact sport that touts some great health benefits, it’s not necessarily easy on the body. We’ve previously covered how to stay in golf shape and why it’s important to your performance. To play your best, a holistic approach to caring for your body before, during, and after a round is important.
We have some tips that can increase your endurance and help you avoid injury.
Before hitting the course, there’s a couple things you can do in advance to improve performance:
- Get a good night’s sleep. Not only does this mean hitting the hay at a decent hour if you have an early tee time, but also be realistic with your schedule. If you have to cut corners in any area of your life to fit in lessons, training, or rounds, you might need to re-evaluate how you are allocating your time.
- Don’t skip the warm up. The best way to avoid injury and get your body ready for tee time is with simple stretching before and after a round of golf. We know the temptation is strong to head straight for the tee box especially for those early morning tee times, but warming up helps avoid dreaded repetitive strain injuries and keep you golfing longer. The good news is that warming up can be as simple as a few quick stretches and the payoff is huge.
- Dress right for the weather. By that, we mean both sun and cold protection. From golf clothes with UPF (like KINONA’s Italian fabrics that block up to 98% of the sun’s rays) to hats and sunscreen, sun protection is no place to skimp. For dual purpose warm and cold weather performance, KINONA golf sleeves and thigh highs offer added protection for your arms and legs and pair perfectly with golf skorts, dresses, and short-sleeved golf tops. Remember, it never hurts to bring an extra layer in case the day proves chillier than expected. It’s easier to toss an extra jacket or hoodie into your golf bag than it is to freeze through a cold round.
- Eat protein-packed healthy fats and carbs before your tee time. Whether that’s early morning or mid-afternoon, your body will thank you by hanging in on the back nine when some less prepared and satiated golfers start fading. Think nuts, avocados, whole grain crackers and breads, peanut butter, fruits and veggies, cheese, hard boiled eggs, oatmeal…foods that stick with you and can power you up to play.
On the fairway and green, most of what you can do, other than just playing your best, is purely mental:
- Try not to ruminate on what goes poorly or not as planned in your game. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a downward spiral if you beat yourself up about mistakes or allow your inner critic to take over your thoughts. To conquer these inner battles with yourself, there’s a lot of benefit to developing a mindfulness practice to help master the mental game. One of the books on our recommended golf reads list is Zen Golf by PGA coach and Buddist instructor, Dr. Joseph Parent. It’s a fabulous read that gives a simple system to enjoy even a bad game of golf.
- Keeping your head in the game also means keeping your focus on the game. It is absolutely key to allow your mind to be at ease rather than drifting to what’s going on after your round or any obligations that might be weighing on you. Give yourself several minutes to feel into your surroundings and your body before approaching the tee.
- Outside the mental game, your body also needs nourishment and hydration to replenish all the energy you’re expending walking, swinging, and carrying clubs. Be sure to bring along plenty of water and healthy snacks and keep them cool in your KINONA snack sack. It’s important to choose the right snacks to maintain your energy level throughout a full 18 holes.
What you do after your game is important, too, and these tips will benefit your body and mental health:
- Cool down with simple stretches that compliment your pre-round warm-ups. Take a moment to work out muscles to keep them from stiffening up later in the day.
- Allow yourself some time to socialize at the clubhouse. One of the best aspects of golf, especially for mental health, is social time spent with others. It gives you a great endorphin boost and also keeps you connected to a community with common interests. While you’re there, be sure to refresh with water and cold drinks and refuel your body with nourishing food.
- Get a massage! Nothing feels better after you finish on the back nine than getting a rub down. Plus it pulls a bit of double duty as a cool down to give your muscles some love. And if you walked the course, be sure to give your feet some extra love too.
- Focus on what went well and celebrate the improvements you’ve made or new skills gained. Then carry that positive mindset with you from the course after the 19th hole. You’re pretty awesome so remember that.
- Rest. Recovery time is key to optimizing your performance. Give yourself a break, especially after a hot day on the fairway.
KINONA has the clothes (and leggings!) to take you from those early morning warm-up stretches through to your lunch date at the clubhouse and out to the massage or yoga studio. Our comfy joggers and hoodies are the perfect cozy choice for R&R after playing a tough course.
Take care of yourself and play strong, ladies!
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