It happens to all of us, even though we don't want to admit it. The reality is we all get older. Some of you may already know what I'm talking about and others may yet to have experience the phenomenon of aging.
For those reading this article that are no longer spring chickens, you get my drift. If you're one of the lucky ones - still young, that is - let me fill you in on what happens as the body gets a few miles on it.
Probably the biggest thing that we all dislike when we creep into our 30s and 40s is the extra poundage we tend to put on (it's also a lot harder to take off when we get older also). The reason for this is that our metabolism slows down.
Unfortunately, we're unable to pound down a burger, fries and a couple Coca-Colas without the bathroom scale hitting "tilt" a few days later. That's the most difficult adjustment we have to make; an adjustment in our nutrition intakes as we age.
The second most noticeable difference as we age, especially for the more active individual, is it becomes a little more difficult to get out of bed. The back is a little sore, the knees are a little creaky and if you work out, the soreness doesn't go away as quickly.
This is a result of a few things that happen to our bodies when we get older. No. 1 is we lose a percentage of our muscle mass on a yearly basis. After the age of 25, about one percent of your muscle mass per year is lost. It makes sense now why we get a little sorer and getting out of bed is more difficult. We simply don't have as much muscle to do the work.
In addition, as you get older you get less flexible. It takes you a lot longer to "limber up" for any sporting activity, whether it's golf, tennis, or a pick up game of basketball.
Less flexibility predisposes you to certain movements becoming more difficult; touching your toes, rotating during a golf swing, or even reaching down to pick something up off the ground. Why does this occur? As a result of wear and tear, our bodies become more tight and wound up as we get older.
So there you have it: Some of the great things to look forward too as you get older (I'm kidding, of course). If you're in your 20s and reading this article, enjoy it while it lasts because the road gets a little more difficult to travel as you get older.
I'm sure most golfers can relate to the general results of aging in relation to your golf game. Quite simply, the extra pounds decrease your stamina and may affect your swing plane.
Less muscle equals less distance off the tee and less flexibility tends to make the turn in the golf swing much harder to perform. It's an unfortunate situation but the good news is that we can slow down the aging process. Limiting the effects of aging on your golf game.
How can slow down the aging process? It's actually quite simple and only requires about 15 to 20 minutes a day - and a little discipline. Sounds pretty easy when you consider all the benefits you could receive with the minimal time requirements needed.
What we're going to do is provide you some answers on how to slow down the aging process. Remember we can't stop the aging process, but we can sure slow it down.
The benefits of slowing down the aging process are evident, especially when you see guys in their 50s winning tour events. It just takes a little time, some knowledge and discipline.
If you don't think you have the time, let me ask you one question: How would you like to feel 10 years younger and hit the ball farther then you did in your 20s? I imagine the answer to both of those questions would be a resounding, "yes!"
Let's start with the first topic that we described when you get older, the additional pounds. Unfortunately as you age, your metabolism slows down. There are activities to speed that metabolism back up, however. The way to do it is performing some fitness activities. If you're active and participate in some type of structured activity, your body will burn more fuel and elevate its metabolism during this time.
In addition, if these activities are resistance-training activities (i.e. weights, tubing, light dumbbells, body weight), then over time you will build some muscle. The great thing about that is the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be all the time (translation: you'll burn more fuel all the time).
A secondary benefit of such activities will be greater stamina on the course. So rather than spraying your shots around on the back nine because you're tired, you can have pinpoint accuracy going into the 18th.
Moving onto our second point: the loss of muscle mass as you age. This one is a tough one to swallow. Just think we actually lose muscle as we age. That's pretty depressing, but the good news is it can be limited or stopped.
Before I give you the solution, let's look at how this affects your golf swing. Essentially, in the golf swing you create clubhead speed. That clubhead speed is the result of creating rotational power, which we define as torque. To create torque, the muscles of the body have to be flexible, strong, and powerful.
Now guess what? If you have less muscle what do think is going to happen to your power outputs and club head speed? The answer: they will decrease.
It's no wonder they make senior shafts with a lot of flex. This is the golf manufacturers' attempt to deal with this problem. It helps to a point, but we have a better solution. How about putting something in your bag that gets you stronger, improves your power and gets back that lost distance?
Sounds good? Well, it can be done - if you implement a golf-specific strength-training program. You can get back that lost muscle mass, get back that power and improve your driving distance. This is what we call the development of "golf strength," and it can be done with a program that takes just 15 minutes a day.
Finally, there's also a flexibility issue. Our bodies loose flexibility as we age. Flexibility is a must when it comes to the golf swing.
Here's what happens when you don't work on your flexibility. A loss of flexibility in the golf swing limits the ability of the body to perform the correct actions to create the proper swing.
Essentially, your body won't allow you to take the club back and through on the correct swing path. This leads to miss-hits, slices, hooks and a whole bunch of other shots that are very unpleasant.
So how do we fix this problem or not allow it to become a problem? The answer is to implement of golf specific flexibility program. This again requires a daily commitment, but the time frame is very little (about five minutes a day). Again, ask yourself: Is it worth spending five minutes a day on flexibility to have the golf swing you would like? I bet most of you would again answer, "yes."
Well, there you have the pleasures, displeasure, joys and sorrows of the aging process. We all get older, but there are things we can do to prevent the displeasures and sorrows.
If we take a little time every day and perform the proper exercises and activities, we can reduce the effects of aging and have a great swing for as long as we like. That's the only magic pill we know of.
October 5, 2005
Sean M. Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors in the world. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with 2004 Masters Champion and 2005 PGA Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made many of his golf tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement techniques available to amateur golfers at his Web site, BioForceGolf.com.