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Aging Happens, what can we do about it?

The game of golf plays an important role in many of our lives.



And there is one thing that more than anything else tries to take it away from us... aging.


As we age, our bodies naturally decrease in function.


Articular cartilage within joints gets less stiff and absorbent.


The resorption rate of bones decreases.


Muscles get weaker and can absorb less stress.


It's natural. It's aging.


But... there are certainly things we can do to eliminate, and in some ways, REVERSE the aging process.


Moral of the Story


If you want the SparkNotes version of this article, it's this:


  1. Be proactive.

  2. Start strength, speed, and mobility training multiples times every week

  3. Be consistent.


Joint Health


As we age, joints get stiffer and tend to become less fluid.


In part, decreased fluidity is driven by decreased function of the articular cartilage, the tissue that separates bones and limits friction between them.


We can minimize this by LOADING the articular cartilage structures.


By doing so we will stimulate the chondrocytes that sit within the articular cartilage to rebuild and strengthen the tissue.


How do we load the cartilage?


By strength training.


Split squats.

Back squats.

Goblet squats.

RDLs.

Rows. Bench.


Apply load to the body and move the joint, the cartilage will adapt and function will increase.



Bone Health


Bone health is critical as our skeletal system provides the foundation for our movement as well as supports and protects organs and bodily systems necessary for function.


Common bone diseases like osteoporosis, which is a disease that develops over time as bone mineral density and bone mass decrease, occur most often due to aging.


The risks of osteoporosis can be mitigated, as well as greater bone health can be achieved, through STRENGTH TRAINING.


Even more so than cartilage, bones adapt to stressors that we place on them.


They have cells within them called osteoblasts which can sense when stress is applied and feed rebuilding and growth to the boney area.


Feed stress to bones via strength training:


Split squats.

Back squats.

Goblet squats.

RDLs.

Rows. Bench.


Your bones will initially degrade from the loading, but the osteoblasts and various other cells within your bones will create adaptations - increasing future strength and resilience!


Muscular Health


Our muscular system is the king/queen of our movement!


Our muscles pull on bones to create movement.


That's how I'm typing this article and how you swing a golf club.


Muscles contract, pull on bones, creating movement.


There are three central aspects of muscular health that we need to maintain as we age:

  1. Strength

  2. "Flexibility"

  3. Speed

Muscular Strength


The more force your muscles can produce, the better. An as we age, the amount of force a muscle can produce tends to decrease - unless we train it to be maintained (or grown!)


Greater muscular strength not only will increase your performance on the golf course, but will improve the resilience of the muscle.


Stronger muscles that have been exposed to stress and loading are less likely to strain and injure than an untrained muscle.


Muscular "Flexibility"


Much of the ideas around muscular flexibility are misguided. I put flexibility in quotes because much of the new research around stretching tells us that while we can maybe increase the length of a muscle very slightly, most of the increased muscular flexibility we achieve after stretching is neural.


It's due to desensitization of the muscle and the sensory receptors within it.


For example, let's say I have tight hamstrings so I decide to stretch daily for 30 minutes.


After 6 weeks, I can finally touch my toes... woot!


However, it's probably not due to increasing the "flexibility" of the hamstring muscle, it's more due to me just becoming desensitized to that feeling of "stretch."


All of this is to say, improvement in flexibility is best achieved by improving the function of muscle and joints through strength and movement training, not static stretching.


Muscular Speed


At least for me, I want to be 75, ripping drives by my buddies still.



As golfers, we need to maintain (and grow!) speed for as long as possible.


You can limit the effects of aging on speed and power by consistently moving your body fast in training.



The majority of our daily lives don't challenge the speed of our movement.


Meaning we NEED to challenge it in training.


Conclusion


Aging happens.


We can't remove it from our lives completely.


But, you CAN decrease the effects of aging through physical training.


That's what we do here at SCRATCH.


I help golfers increase performance and improve LONGEVITY.


I want golfers playing the game for the rest of their lives... because I know how fun, enjoyable, and important this game is for so many.


 

Carter Schmitz

Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com

CSCS, TPI


Carter is a strength and conditioning coach out of the Milwaukee area working with athletes, in-person and virtually. Having helped hundreds of athletes, ranging from the middle school to the professional level and beyond, Carter brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to every athlete he works with. He launched SCRATCHGolfTraining.com in the summer of 2021 to help empower golfers to greater performance and longevity.


Carter believes ALL golfers are athletes, and they should be training accordingly.


Become a SCRATCH Athlete today, and start training like the ATHLETE you are!


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