With its outdoor nature, golf offers an off season opportunity for exercise to improve fitness, strength and flexibility. Even a little work in these areas will reap rewards in the height of the golf season. Try a few of these approaches and see what works best for you.
While golf is not considered an endurance sport, or even a sport at all by many, cardio-vascular exercise and fitness can be a great benefit to playing well. As a walking sport, having a strong fitness level keeps you from fading at the end of a round. Add several miles of walking or jogging, if your doctor gives you the OK, to your routine each week. If you prefer exercycling or stair mastering, that can boost your cardio vascular fitness as well. If you feel like you are overweight, losing a few pounds (again, consult your doctor for approval) can help you swing through the ball more freely.
Gentle stretching to elongate your muscles and generate flexibility is very important to both maintaining a good golf swing and avoiding injury during the season. Enrolling in a yoga or Pilates class can give you some well-directed techniques for generating flexibility.
Lay on your belly with your arms extended over your head. Raise your right arm and your left foot off the floor. Hold this position for 10 or more seconds. Then reverse with the left arm and right foot. Repeat this 10 times on each side then rest. Do 3 sets 3 times a week and you'll have a very strong back come spring time.
Rotational exercises are probably the most golf-related movements you'll get in the gym. Try picking up a medicine ball that feels slightly heavy to you. Be careful not to use too much weight at first. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart–basically in your golf stance. Now rotate your body to one side holding the ball at your chest. Rotate back the other way. That's 1. Repeat this 20 times, then rest. Again, do 3 sets of these 3 times a week and you'll feel a difference. But remember, gentle movements. You should never use quick movements with back exercises.