Age-Related Decline is not Inevitable
Age can be a taboo topic to some people. For those people aging is largely associated with falling apart, wasting away, breaking down, and losing their ability to do the things that they enjoy
Most people chalk up these declines as a normal a part of aging, and assuming it’s only a matter of time until they’re replacing their favorite activities like golf, travel, gardening, woodworking etc. with television, bed rest and cards.
The truth is that these age-related declines are not inevitable. In fact, there is a fair amount of research that suggests that almost all these qualities decline not because of age, but rather due to the disuse. Therefore, it’s not a product of the number of years you have lived but how you live them.
It’s also been shown that physical qualities like strength, power, mobility and function cannot only be maintained, but improved with age. Even if you haven’t been taking care of your physical health to this point it is still never too late to get these physical qualities reversed by getting back on track.
Let’s look at these physical qualities and how we can make changes to these at any age
Strength & Muscle Mass
Muscle mass and strength give us our ability to exert force, which is highly important in creating swing speed, stability and staying highly functional. Not only that, but they also help protect us against injury and maintain resiliency to the stresses that not only golf but day to day life can put on us.
Most studies seem to suggest that strength and muscle mass can begin to dip as early as age 30 and that we can continue to lose muscle mass and strength every decade beyond that if not addressed
Strength and muscle are the cornerstones of performance and injury prevention/reduction. They can make a huge difference in our quality of life and our ability to not only function but participate in the activities that we enjoy and perform them at a high level well into our years.
Strength and muscle mass don’t decline solely due to age, they decline because most people tend to become more and more passive as they age. Losing strength and muscle mass isn’t a byproduct of aging; it’s a consequence of disuse and becoming more passive with age.
How To Improve Strength and Muscle Mass
Lift heavy in the basic human movement patterns
- Pullups or pulldowns
- Heavy carries
Pick a weight that challenges you in the 5 to 8 rep range and perform 3 sets of the exercise.
Do this 3 days a week and slowly add weight as the given weight becomes easy
Eat enough protein to support your lifting aiming for .6 to .8grams per lb. of bodyweight.
Whereas strength is the ability to exert force, power is the ability to exert force quickly. The most common examples include sprinting, medicine ball throws, jumping, and lifting weights explosively, but essentially any movement that’s performed at near-maximal speeds falls under the umbrella of power. Studies show that adults lose power faster than they lose strength as they age. But, like strength and muscle mass, power has been shown to have a direct correlation with longevity.
How To Get More Powerful as You Age
For golfers the biggest things you should focus on is jumping, throwing and slamming medicine balls, sprinting and performing basic strength movements with lighter weights moving fast. In the end the main key is spending time moving as fast as you can
Some options are:
· Vertical jumps
· Rotational jumps
· Single leg jumps
· Lateral jumps
· Medicine ball slams
· Rotational medicine ball throws
· Speed variations of squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses, rows
· Olympic lifts and derivatives
For these you want to low volume so 3 to 5 sets of 3 to 5 reps are a good place to start and make sure that every rep is performed at maximal intensity
While flexibility is a commonly used term to refer to someone’s movement capabilities, its true definition is nothing more than “the ability of a muscle to lengthen passively through a range of motion.” Mobility, on the other hand, can be defined as the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.
For golf we need to have good mobility rotating through our neck, shoulders, thoracic spine, hips plus basic functional abilities to touch our toes, perform a full range of motion squat, reach arms overhead etc.
Mobility is performed by taking all your joints through full ranges of motion, this can be done moving in and out of the range or adding holds at end range and even loading with weight through a full range of motion.
In my opinion mobility should be performed every day. With 10-15 minutes may be all you need to do.
Spend time swinging the golf club as fast as you can
All golfers, regardless of age, should spend some time swinging a golf club as fast as they can. But if you are aging and losing speed then you should be doing this
There are plenty of training aids out there that you can use but you should also be spending time with a driver and ball with the goal of trying to swing as fast as you can.
Ideally having radar feedback to track speed is highly recommended both to track progress and drive intent during training
Have a goal of getting better every year
Aging might present some unique challenges, but it doesn’t mean you have to give in to it. Follow the below guidelines as best as you can:
· Lift heavy 3 days a week
· Jump, Throw, Sprint 3 days a week
· Walk and move every day
· Spend some time swinging a golf club as fast as you can
· Get up and down from the ground everyday
· Move your body through a full range of motion every day
· Consistently challenge yourself mentally and physically
· Quit using age as an excuse to not get better
If you have any questions or need some help or guidance in gaining more speed, improving strength, power and mobility and playing forever shoot me an email at email@example.com