The majority of golfers that come into our clinic for complaints of low back pain and other forms of injury lack flexibility through the hips, spine and ankles, all of which are heavily relied upon during the golf swing. Most professional golfers have incredible flexibility combined with excellent strength allowing them to compete at such a high level. For the weekend golfer who spends most of their day sitting at a desk, this can be a challenge.
I spend most of my time working with golfers to increase their hip flexor mobility that shortens from prolonged sitting. These muscles are located on the front of the hip and have a major influence on the curvature of the low back and how it behaves during the swing. The therapists at Nike Golf placed great emphasis on improving hip extension and rotation through a series of stretches that target the joint in 3 planes of motion. Most of us stretch in one direction and forget that we move in 3 dimensions and therefore must stretch in 3 dimensions to achieve the maximum benefit. Through the use of these stretches, I have been able to witness golfers drastically improve their follow through while resolving their back pain in a matter of 1-2 visits. Unfortunately, a lifestyle that involves sitting for 7-8 hours/day will require greater effort on your part to overcome.
The only equipment you need to perform a highly effective hip flexor stretch is a chair. Start by placing one foot on the chair and having the other foot grounded and turned inward. This is important because it really locks in the hip flexor. Lean forward at the hips until you feel tension at the front of the hip. Do not come off of the stretch and begin to gently rock forward and back for 10 repetitions, then move the hips in a side to side motion to stretch the frontal plane for 10 repetitions. It is important to also keep the back leg straight because the knee will want to bend. After those 2 motions, incorporate the transverse plane by doing a circular motion and remember not to come off of the stretch at any point for 10 repetitions in each direction, clock wise and counterclockwise. Now, switch legs and repeat. You should feel immediate relief and greater ease with the follow through of your golf swing!
This plant has received a lot of attention lately after the CDC recently announced that it is the most nutrient dense food on the planet.
"Researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey have done all of us a big favor by producing a list of 41 “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” ranked by the amounts of 17 critical nutrients they contain. In a study published Thursday in the CDC journal “Preventing Chronic Disease,” the foods are scored by their content of fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients, all considered important to public health." (Washington Post) Guess what topped the list? Watercress! Have you ever heard of it? I'm on a green smoothie kick now and have been experimenting with different recipes and vegetables. If you know of any good ones, please share! Anyways, watercress is sold at Publix for $2.99/bag. If you would like to find out how different vegetables and fruits ranked click here.
The benefits of watercress are pretty remarkable. For instance, watercress is strong at cancer prevention and may counteract certain processes by which cancers proliferate and spread. It may help regulate thyroid hormones, regulate the gallbladder, help with hair and skin health among many other benefits. Give it a Google and you will find a plethora of other benefits!
Check this article out:
Eat your way to a facelift: Watercress is the latest wonder food in battle against ageing
"Given this wealth of health benefits, it is not surprising that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, built his first hospital in close proximity to a stream where watercress grew so that his patients would have ready access to this life-sustaining green." (www.lef.org)
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Not familiar with turmeric root? It is one of the most researched foods known to man and has been around for centuries because of its healing properties and health benefits. Its medicinal properties have been involved in over 5600 research studies and has comparable properties to several big name prescription drugs. Turmeric root has been used for thousands of years in India. According to AuthorityNutrition.com, turmeric root is a natural anti-inflammatory, dramatically Increases the antioxidant capacity of the body, boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, linked to improved brain function and a lower risk of brain diseases, lowers risk of heart disease, helps to prevent and treat cancer, fights arthritis and depression while fighting age related illnesses. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and is found in low doses in the root, but can be supplemented. Please follow this link to find out how it compares to common pharmaceuticals. You may be surprised!
What if I told you there was a plant that you could add to your diet that turns grey hair to its natural color, reduces inflammation, stimulates the thyroid gland, assists in correcting obesity, reduces indigestion, relieves many internal pains, and has been used successfully to treat peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea, and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a powerful detoxifier, a liver and blood protector, can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants, has a powerful ability to fight tumors without the usual toxicity of drugs that also inhibit cell-destroying agents. It soothes sunburned skin and acts as a disinfectant. Rubbed into the scalp before a shampoo, it will help mend damaged hair and alleviate itchy, scaly, scalp conditions. It slows down the aging process, tightens loose skin and acts as a sleeping aide!!! Are you excited yet?! This plant really exists!! The answer is wheatgrass!! The Hippocrates Health Institute has been studying its benefits and is located in West Palm Beach, FL! Hippocrates once said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” If you believe this (or don't believe this!), you need to check it out here.
For a full list of the benefits of wheatgrass click here.
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Dr. Mark Giovanini
Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.