This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Generations Magazine.

Golf is a popular sports activity. Unlike most sports, it can be played throughout the golden years, if you can avoid injury and stay in shape.

The American Physical Therapy Association says that older golfers often forget that while their passion for the game remains high, their bodies have aged. As we age, we lose flexibility, muscle mass and strength.

Because the golf swing’s extreme bending and twisting movements are not natural for the body, senior golfers are at a greater risk of injury. Correct body mechanics on and off the course (lifting golf bags, etc.) play a larger role in preventing injuries.

Warm-up exercises before starting a game are essential to prevent injury, and continuing with these exercises during the game will help muscles recover faster and maintain muscular balance. Keeping yourself in shape with year-round conditioning, balance, strength, endurance and flexibility training ensures an injury-free game.

Essential Warm-Up Exercises to Prevent Injury

Wrist Stretches: Increase flexibility. Start with one arm held outward horizontally, elbows straight, palms down. Use your other hand to bend your wrist downward. Hold it for 20–30 seconds. Then turn palms upward and repeat. Do 2–3 sets.

Trunk Rotation: Increases trunk ROM. Stand in the golf posture. Place your club behind your neck, on your shoulders and grasp each end. Rotate your upper body back and through in a slow and controlled motion, simulating a golf swing. Feel a stretch at the trunk region. Repeat 10 times.Anterior Shoulder Stretch:

Trunk Rotation

Anterior Shoulder Stretch: Increases range of motion (ROM). Standing, hold your golf club behind your back with palms outward. Raise the club upwards until a stretch is felt in the front of your shoulders and chest. Hold 20–30 seconds. Do 2–3 sets.

Anterior Shoulder Stretch

Trunk Extension: Increases trunk ROM and prepares muscles for your golf swing (reduces back injury.) Stand holding your golf club with both hands (palms outward), rest your club on the small of your back. Bend backwards slowly. Hold for 2 seconds and return. Repeat 5–10 times.

Trunk Extension

Hamstring and Groin Stretches: Improves ROM at the hips and groin, allowing for better movement during the golf swing. Starting with one side, stand in front of a bench holding the golf club as a cane to maintain balance. Place your heel on the bench seat with the standing leg straight. Keeping hips facing forward, point your toes back toward you, hold 20–30 seconds. Next, rotate your body toward the club side and feel a groin stretch. Hold 20–30 seconds. Alternate position and repeat 2–3 times.

Hamstring Stretch

Groin Stretch