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Health & Fitness

Ten things we learned on Day 2 of the World Golf Fitness Summit

By Ron Kaspriske

Every other year, many of the game's top teachers and fitness experts unite to discuss various topics at the World Golf Fitness Summit. The current event began in Orlando on Thursday. Here are some of the highlights from Friday's session.

10. If you're having trouble getting your body to move in the proper sequence during a golf swing, practice skipping stones across a pond, says PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska. "It's an accidental golf swing," he says.

Ben-Shear.jpg9. More often than not, if your body feels tight in a certain area, stretching is not the solution to your problem, says PGA Tour fitness expert Ben Shear (pictured), a frequent contributor to Golf Digest. A quick check will tell you whether you need to work on your mobility. Here is an example: Say your hips feel tight. Lie down on your back and try to lift your knees up toward your chest one at a time. Did your range of motion improve significantly? Did it seem easy to lift your knees up? If so, stretching will probably not help your tightness issue. The problem most likely is a lack of stability in the hip joint. Shear suggests you work on improving the stability of the hip instead of simply stretching. A telltale sign stretching will not help your tightness is if the tightness returns repeatedly.

8. The body needs natural salts to promote bone density, says author and nutritionist Don Tolmon. Salt gets a bad rap but the non-processed types are some of the best things you can ingest, especially in terms of preventing and treating osteoarthritis. "Low-salt diets lead to weak bones," he says. In fact, eating salted raw celery is a great way to keep your bones strong.

7. Most pills and capsules contain traces of aluminum and will not dissolve in the body, Tolmon says. So if you are going to take supplements and vitamins, opt for powders and not pills.

6. Instead of taking fish-oil capsules to get omega fatty acids, which many believe aid brain function among many other benefits, eat walnuts.

5. When you run or squat or swing a golf club, your toes should be slightly flared, says Charlie Weingroff, former strength coach for the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. Weingroff now trains athletes at Drive 495 golf and fitness center in Manhattan. Studies of top sprinters and Olympic weightlifters show the majority flare their feet slightly in order to center the leg under the hip joint. He says the flaring should be no more than 20 percent.

4. Aging golfers should make the mid-back a priority when it comes to stretching, says Al Vermeil, former strength coach of the Chicago Bulls and San Francisco 49ers. This area tends to stiffen more as you get older and can lead to developing "C" posture, which is a rounding of the back. He suggests putting a couple of pillows under your mid-back and lie down on the floor, arms raised above your head. This will help elongate the thoracic spine.

3. PGA Tour trainer Chris Noss (@CoachNoss) does very little long-hold stretching with his tour pros--he trains Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson--and cautions all golfers to avoid this type of stretching before they play. Static stretches make it harder for the muscles to contract rapidly, as they are required to do during the golf swing.

2. Breathing is rarely considered when training, but it is crucial to peak athletic performance, says PGA Tour trainer Dave Herman (@AthletesTrainin). Oxygen is a key component of muscle function so all exercises should be performed with some attention given to breathing.

1. Roughly translated, the origin of the word 'pharmacy' means someone who murders by poisoning his prey, Tolman says. Something to ponder next time you opt for drugs instead of other options for pain. Look it up.

Ron Kaspriske is Golf Digest's Fitness Editor.


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