Charlotte is in full bloom and all the golf greens are incredibly lush. You don't have to drive too far anywhere in Charlotte to find a wonderful golf course. Most likely if you are an avid golfer, you don't even think about the calories you are burning and the physical benefit you are receiving when you walk 18 holes. Perhaps because you are so anxious to hit a few, you forget how important it is to warm-up with some active stretches.
Dynamic stretches as opposed to long held static stretches will get your golf muscles activated, warmed up and performance ready. (see video below). Golf specific areas that you will need to target are your shoulders, lower back, hamstrings and hips. One example of a dynamic golf warm-up exercise is the "squat with golf club arm raise". This squat is done with knees lined up over toes, feet placed shoulder width apart. Hold the golf club waist high, as you squat bending only from the knees, raise your golf club to shoulder level. Squat and raise for about 10 - 12 repetitions. Important tip: be sure and keep your upper body erect during this exercise, bending at the knees, not from the hips.
The muscles in your lower back and torso are extremely integral in golf and achieving a strong core will improve your swing. One exercise that you can easily do any time pretty much anywhere to strengthen all your core muscles, is the plank. Lie on the floor on your stomach. Prop yourself up on your elbows and toes. Be sure and keep your abdominals contracted and don't let your back sink down. Hold the plank for 10 - 20 counts and relax for 30 seconds. Repeat for 2 - 3 sets.
So how many calories can you really burn doing what you love? The studies show walking for 9 holes will burn about 720 calories as opposed to riding which burns around 400. This same study also showed that walking the course also improved golf scores. The thinking is that you see more, discover more of the terrain and assimilate the green as well as have more time to think about the hole, your shot and which club to use.
Most likely all golfers will be taking in the Masters this weekend, but if you decide to get in a round of your own, don't forget to warm-up and walk instead of ride for the best golf experience.