Woman playing golf

Round the Year Skincare for Golfers

Let’s review the facts.

Golfers spend a lot of time in the sun. The average time for a foursome to play 18 holes is four hours.It’s also recommended that if golfers play regularly if they are serious about improving their game.  In fact, as of 2011, golfers played an average of 58 rounds a year.  Do the math and that works out to a lot of time outside.

The majority of golf players are male.  Even though the popularity of the Ladies PGA tour grows every day, and we love you, Maria Sharapova,  77.5% of golfers in the U.S. are male.  And the average age of golfers in the U.S. is 54.  Now, ask yourself this, honestly, how many men do you know who are over 54 religiously apply sunblock?

Men over the age of 40 have the highest annual exposure to UV radiation and the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are caucasian meant over 50. According to an article in Golf digest, dermatologists believe the odds of skin cancer are worse for golfers and it is likely that a higher percentage of golfers have skin cancer than the 20% reported for the US population.   According to Dr. Michael Kaminer, “Some golfers, it’s like they’re going out of their way to get skin cancer,” and he plays golf.

But just because you’re not in the average demographic for golfing, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy golf, and just because you are not a female millennial, you do not get an excuse for being ignorant about skin health.  So, let’s agree that golfing and taking care of your skin is not mutually exclusive! So listen up golfers:  here are some round the year skincare tips for golfers.

Use Sunblock Every Time You Play
Make sure to go with at least SPF 30 and make sure it says “broad spectrum”  on the label.  This way you know you are getting both UVA and UVB protection.

Woman playing golf

Wear a Hat, Long Sleeves, Pants and Sunglasses
The Skin Cancer Foundation says to wear one that extends 3″ ALL THE WAY AROUND; that means, no baseball caps or visors.  (Something tells me this may be a problem.) Wearing pants and long sleeves are very helpful in keeping the sun off.  If you are really too hot for sleeves, Nike and Under Armour make sun sleeves.  Try to get them with at least a 30 UPF.  and don’t forget to rock the SGs.  Make sure you choose a pair that blocks 99-100% of the sun.  OK, so now that you’re bundled up, let’s go play some golf.  No, only kidding, but statistics show that most golfers are college educated, so use those brains!  Stay away from the sun.

Re-Apply Sunscreen Every Two Hours
Sweat, moisture and time can all effect the strength of sunscreen. Check around the 8th or 9th hole to see how long it has been since your last application.

Schedule an Early or Late Tee Time
Try to avoid putting between 10 and 4 when the sun is strongest.  Take advantage of twilight rates, or predawn hours.

Find Shade
Trees are not really the most common features on golf courts, so a golf cart may be a good idea. The cart’s awning will provide some sun relief. If you must walk the court, try and stand in the shadiest place possible when not teeing off.  You will be cooler as well.

Woman having elbow pain

Carpal Tunnel & Golfer's Elbow

In order to determine where the carpal tunnel is, you should take a look at your wrist with your palm facing up and as you flex the wrist towards you, the area underneath the wrinkles is where the carpal tunnel is located. The carpal tunnel contains blood vessels, nerves and tendons which are the outer layers of muscles. Golfer’s elbow, also called medial epicondylitis, causes inflammation and pain in the tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow. Pain generally is focused on the bony area on the inside of the elbow but may also radiate outwards to the forearm. The best thing you can do is you develop golfer’s elbow is really just rest.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow and carpal tunnel are usually caused by the overuse of forearm muscles that involve gripping, rotation of the arms as well as flexing the wrists. Repeating these actions continuously often causes tiny tears in the tendons. Although the condition is called ‘golfer’s elbow’, it does not just affect golfers. Other activities that can lead to the condition are baseball (sometimes called pitcher’s elbow), tennis and bowling. Additionally, individuals can also develop the condition from overusing or incorrectly using tools like hammers, screwdrivers or while painting or raking. Many people will have heard the term ‘tennis elbow’ – both are forms of tendinitis, however, the difference is that golfer’s elbow is usually caused by tendons on the inside while tennis elbow is a result of damage to the tendons on the outside. Golfer’s elbow is also generally less common than tennis elbow.

Treatment of Golfer’s Elbow
The best thing you can do to treat your golfer’s elbow immediately is to apply ice to the affected area for around 20 minutes, anywhere from three to five times a day. You should also ensure to rest the injured elbow and refrain from any activities that may aggravate the condition. Pain medications should also be considered and doctors will often recommend an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin to help reduce the swelling.

Additionally, physical therapy can help relieve pain and hasten the recovery process. There are numerous prescribed exercises which can help and reduce stress to the elbow which in turn can minimize the chance of the condition re-occurring.

There have been numerous innovations in recent years which in more serious cases of golfer’s elbow involve using plasma rich protein injections to accelerate recovery. For individuals who still experience pain after three months or more, surgery may be required. These procedures will often remove damaged parts of tendons in order to promote the healing process. Some individuals may take up to 6 months to recover from a serious case of golfer’s elbow.

Preventing Golfer’s Elbow
The only thing you really can do to prevent golfer’s elbow is to avoid overusing the joint. If you feel pain during any activity or sport you should stop immediately before the condition worsens.

Woman playing golf

Why Golfing is Good for Your Health

Many people assume a good workout involves profuse sweating and high-intensity exercise – however this is not always the case. A good round of golf can actually provide all the same benefits without over-stressing your muscle groups and bones. Although golf is a leisurely sport it is nevertheless a great form of exercise. Numerous studies today have demonstrated that people who exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week have significantly reduced the risk of heart disease, strokes, and reduced chances of developing numerous diseases. Golfers who chose to carry their own clubs are also undertaking both cardio and resistance training and since an average round of golf takes anywhere from two to four hours, you can get all the recommended amount of exercise for a week in just one round. One study in Sweden found that individuals who played the game on a regular basis had an increased life expectancy of 5 years.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Golfing can involve many hours of walking – assuming you don’t take a buggy! The average golf course is also between 5 and 8 miles long. Moving from hole to hole at a quick pace is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and the walk back to the clubhouse from the final hole is usually around a mile. Walking at a brisk pace for two hours burns nearly 400 calories and in this way, golf is an excellent activity for weight loss. Carrying your own clubs is an excellent idea as it is a weight-bearing exercise in itself and alongside walking, it will help increase the number of calories you burn. Although some golfers use a buggy, you can still get a good amount of exercise just by walking briskly wherever possible.

Stress Busting
Numerous studies have identified golf as an effective stress-busting exercise and the social aspects of the sport and interaction increase levels of happiness and self-esteem. A round of golf involves hours of breathing in fresh air in nature surrounded by beautifully kept grass as well as the meditative process of focusing your attention on the ball. Exercising in general also releases powerful, natural mood-enhancing chemicals in our brain called endorphins. Golfers have also shown to soak up far more vitamin D than those who spend their weekends indoors. Vitamin D, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is an essential nutrient in the body and increases energy levels, improves mental health, assists with calcium absorption and cell growth in our bodies.

Improved Sleep
Exercising regularly and eating are known to promote healthy sleeping patterns and improve the quality of sleep. Since golf provides a good cardiovascular workout and helps you to de-stress, getting a good night’s sleep is much easier if you play regularly. A round of golf leaves you feeling a sense of achievement at the end of it and the workout you undertake will usually tire you out by the end of the day. This is especially so for golfers who choose to tee off early in the morning at around 6a.m.

Upper body workout

Upper Body Golf Workout

As much as improving your golf game is about practicing more often and learning how to optimize and adjust your bodily position, it is also about improving strength and balance in your upper body which in turn will make hitting with accuracy much easier. Golf swing technique problems have been attributed to inadequate core strength and stability, lack of shoulder and hip flexibility and insufficient abdominal strength. If you perform certain exercises regularly you will be able to enhance your golf game and become more flexible and stronger throughout your entire swing.

Golf Twist
Stand in the position as if you were about to tee off with feet just over should-width apart and the weight on the inside of each heel. Use both hands to hold a 5 pound or 2kg dumbbell or weight at the centre of your chest. Elbows should be extended outwards. Keeping your feet flat and head still bring the weight through the motion of a backswing until your right shoulder is underneath your chin. Return to the starting position and repeat through to a downswing. This exercise increases your flexibility and range of motion in the shoulders and ultimately helps you generate more power when you swing for real.

Pilates Rolldown and Oblique Twist
Sit down with your knees bent at 90 degrees in front of you. Squeezing a ball between your hands, slowly lie back until your bottom rib touches the floor. Exhale and roll back up to your starting position. Repeat this up to twenty times. If you find this too easy, roll back until you find your abdominal muscles tensing and then bring the ball to the right and left. This exercise works out the muscles on the front and sides of your abdominal wall which is important for back strength. It ensures that you generate more power when hitting the golf ball through your hips.

Core crunch

Core Crunch
With your knees bent and a towel or ball placed between them, lie on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and neck and on the exhale lift your shoulders off the floor (or crunch). Repeat as much as you can or until you have muscle fatigue. For more of a challenge and a stronger workout bring your knees towards you as you crunch. This exercise works the abdominal muscles and is integral for core stabilization when you swing.

Power Rotation
Similar to the golf twist, this exercise does not use any weights. Stand in your teeing off position, palms together aimed at the ground. Raise your right arm in a backswing motion until both arms form a vertical line then swing it back down clapping it with your left. Repeat with your left arm. Finally, rotate both your arms so as your right arm reaches over your head, your left will be down to the ground and vice versa. This exercise is known to help increase the power you can generate from the shoulders. When you bring your right arm down to clap your left hand, imagine your arm is the club hitting the ball.