Building Better Bones Osteoporosis Golf

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Due to a large aging population, osteoporosis is reaching epidemic proportions, responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually. Based on figures from hospitals and nursing homes, the national direct expenditure for osteoporosis and related fractures total $14 billion each year.
 
Osteoporosis is second only to cardiovascular disease as a leading healthcare problem, according to World Health Organization. In Europe and The U.S. combined, lifetime risk of hip fracture in women is greater than the sum of lifetime risks of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. In men, risk of hip fracture is greater than the risk of prostate cancer. Globally, one out of every two women and one out of every five men is affected by osteoporosis. Implementing an exercise program can help prevent or treat osteoporosis by increasing muscle strength, keeping bones strong and improving balance to help avoid falls. Golf can prove a beneficial exercise for most people with osteoporosis, according to the Mayo Clinic. With good mechanics, golf can help place appropriate stress on bones to help them maintain density and strength.
 
The following are often recommended for people with osteoporosis: - Weight-bearing exercise
(feet and legs support body weight)
- Strength training exercise, especially for the back (working against the weight of another object)
- Flexibility exercise

 
The most common fracture sights for people with osteoporosis are hip, vertebrae and wrist. These are also stress points in golf, so a pre-game warm up is extremely important in combination with a golf-specific fitness program to help increase strength and flexibility of these key areas. Completing these exercises regularly will help you work toward a healthier golf game and better bone health.
 
Inner Thigh Squeezes
- Lie on your back, with the bottom of your feet flat on floor.
- Place a pillow, rolled up towel or a large ball between your knees.
- Squeeze the object using your inner thigh muscles. Hold for 8 seconds, then release. - Repeat 10 times.

 
Hip Flexion
- Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor.
- Placing your hands on your hip bones, engage your abdominals and bring your right knee up 6-12 inches off the floor, then lower slowly. Throughout the move make sure your hip bones are level.
- To increase the intensity, do this move with a straight leg not going any higher than the knee. For more challenge add ankle weights.
- Repeat 10 times with each leg.

 
Spine-Upper/Mid Back
- Sitting tall in a chair, hold your arms so they form 90-degree angles, like a goal post. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, pause, and release slowly.
- Be sure to initiate the movement from your shoulder and not with the arms.
- Repeat 12 times.

 
Spine-Lower Back
- Lie face down. Place forehead on floor if comfortable, or turn head to one side or place pillow under your chest.
- Bend your arms at 90-degree angles.
- Lift the arms off floor as high as you can, pause, and lower slowly.
- Do not allow elbows to go below shoulder level.
- If you have advanced spinal osteoporosis, place a pillow under your chest.
- Repeat 12 times.

 
Hip Rotation
- Lie on your right side with your head on a rolled towel or pillow.
- Bend both hips and knees to a 90-degree angle (as if you were sitting in a chair).
Keeping your feet together, lift your left knee up and lower back to starting point with control.
-Repeat 10 times on each side.

 
Neck Rotation
-Sitting tall, look straight ahead, and lead with your eyes as you turn your head to look over your right shoulder as far as is comfortable. Slowly come back to center.
-Repeat 5 times to right, then to left.
-As you turn your neck, make sure to keep shoulders down. Do not rotate torso; movement should be isolated to the neck.

 
Spine-Lower Back
- Standing, hold your arms up with bent elbows near your sides.
- Take a step forward with your right foot, twisting your torso to the right. Then take a step with left foot and twist torso to the left.
- Continue to walk forward with rotation, turning in the direction of the foot that is stepping out, keeping your lower body relaxed.

 
Wrist
- Hold a towel with your elbows bent and next to your sides.
- Wring out the towel so that one wrist extends as the other flexes. Then reverse. - Focus on the wrists doing the work, not the fingers.

 
Wrist II
- Rest your forearm on your lap or a table. Hold a ball in your hand with palm up, keeping the back of your hand on your lap or the table.
- Squeeze the ball, hold for 3 seconds, and release.
- Repeat 10 times.

 
Consult your physician about your exercise program, as well as a bone density test, a simple and painless test. Because there are varying degrees of osteoporosis, it is recommended that you consult your caregiver on which exercises are appropriate for you.
 
Laura Cipolla is the founder of Golf Fitness International. She is a Pilates instructor, Certified Fitness Trainer and Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist working with pros and amateurs. For more information log onto laura@golffitnessinternational.com

 

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