Lift Weights; Live Longer; Play More Golf
Several years ago, I added weight lifting to my fitness regimen (which to that point had included twenty years of daily walking and stationary bike work). I saw nearly immediate benefits — particularly with my lower back issues, which disappeared after about six months of training and (knock wood) have not returned.
Fitness issues aside, it now seems that there is evidence that strength training has another benefit: life extension
Outside Magazine has a nice article summing up research on the idea that strength training can extend your life. Here’s one finding:
Researchers in Australia analyzed data from 80,000 adults in England and Scotland who completed surveys about their physical activity patterns starting in the 1990s. The headline result was that those who reported doing any strength training were 23 percent less likely to die during the study period and 31 percent less likely to die of cancer. Meeting the guidelines by strength training twice a week offered a little extra benefit.
An Indiana University study:
… assessed 4,440 adults ages 50 or up who had their strength and muscle mass assessed between 1999 and 2002. The researchers checked back in 2011 to see who had died … [they study] found that those with low muscle strength were more than twice as likely to have died during the follow-up period than those with normal muscle strength.
Strength training for golfers long has been controversial. For many years, it was thought that a muscular frame ruined the golf swing. Then a new generation of players came in and disproved that, swinging faster and hitting the ball longer than ever before (it remains to be seen if their careers last as long as the previous non-lifting generation). Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are the poster children for the weight lifters; Tiger Woods is the cautionary tale of possible damage.
For the average weekender, I can’t see any downside to strength training. I used to lose a couple of weeks each season to back issues; no longer. Even as I’ve gotten older, I feel less fatigue and fewer pains at the end of a round (I walk nearly every round). I’m not hitting the ball any farther, but I don’t think I’m losing distance with age, either. I can certainly power through rough better than I used to.
Of course, consult with a physician before starting any exercise program. I also consulted with a personal trainer before using any of the exercise equipment and choosing which to use. While I don’t think weights are bad for golf per se, I think it’s likely that certain kinds or patterns of lifting could be harmful.
According to this latest research, at the very least, you’ll life longer and thus have time for more rounds of golf.
Lift Weights; Live Longer; Play More Golf.