Can golf improve your balance?
People with Parkinson’s disease are at an increased risk for falls because of changes in movement, decline in balance, and changes in how they walk. There has been extensive research to show the positive effects of exercise on decreasing symptoms leading to the development of several exercise programs like PWR! Moves, pole walking, Rock Steady Boxing, and LSVT BIG.
Golf is also considered another form of exercise for people with Parkinson’s Disease in conjunction with medical treatment to decrease people’s risk for falls!
Golf is a low-impact form of physical activity that is an all-around workout promoting:
range of motion,
activation of muscles in the upper and lower body,
Many of these benefits come from the golf swing alone, which is a whole body movement that requires
trunk extension and rotation,
significant weight shift,
activates many muscles in the body to perform.
Because of the forward posture, trunk stiffness and difficulty moving big with PD, performing a golf swing repeatedly can have a positive impact on someone's trunk range of motion and promote a more upright posture.
Below is a picture of the different components of a golf swing which showcases how much trunk rotation can happen when performing a golf swing:
In addition, golf can also have an impact on improving balance control due to the combined precision and repetitive nature of the golf swing and through walking on the golf course. People who have played golf have also been shown to have increased strength and power.
Not only does the game of golf provide a healthy outlet for a different form of physical activity to decrease a patient’ s risk for falls, it also provides an opportunity for increased involvement of the brain because it is a game of constant strategy and it is a sport that provides camaraderie and social support.
If you want to begin playing golf or it has been a couple years since you have played, practicing your golf swing first, before heading to the driving range or onto the green, can be a good place to start before beginning this new novel form of physical activity.
Before heading to the golf course this summer, if you feel your golf swing needs a tune up call Engage at 315-810-2423 to work with one of our physical therapists
So, now that the weather is warmer, it may be your time to get back out on the golf course and decrease your risk for falls!
1. Bliss RR, Church FC. Golf as a Physical Activity to Potentially Reduce the Risk of Falls in Older Adults with Parkinson's Disease. Sports (Basel). 2021;9(6):72. Published 2021 May 23. doi:10.3390/sports9060072