“Dear, The Golfing Doc; Any suggestions on how to combat stiffness and soreness from traveling? My first round of golf is usually bad because I’m stiff from all the traveling. Thanks. Geoff P., Seattle, WA”.
Do you travel a lot for work? Or do you travel long distances to play golf? Whether or not it includes golfing, traveling can be very taxing and stressful on the body. I can definitely relate to the aches and pains that can build up from traveling. In the first six months of this year, I have already flown over 50,000 miles to work with my players on the PGA Tour. I can definitely feel my body getting stiffer and more sore as this season goes on. My players also experience the same thing, but that’s one of the reasons why they work with me. Through treatment and training, I can keep them in the best shape possible.
In my clinic, I treat a lot of patients who experience the same thing after their travels. Some of them travel long distances for work, while others simply travel to find good golfing weather. Regardless of your mode of transportation or distances covered, something as simple as driving to work and sitting in traffic day after day will affect your body. Your lower back gets stiff and achy, your hamstrings get really tight, your neck becomes kinked due to bad seats and your muscles start to cramp. This doesn’t take into account other issues like headaches, dehydration and poor sleep due to time zone changes. Overall, your body takes a beating from any kind of travel.
So what is one of the easiest ways to help combat the aches and pains from traveling? Stretch! There really is no excuse not to stretch. It is easy to do. It doesn’t take too much time. You can do it anywhere. And you don’t really need any equipment to do it. After traveling for a whole day, the last thing you likely want to do is workout. I can absolutely relate to that. But at least stretch!
So why should you stretch after traveling? Stretching is generally very good for the body. It will help improve your circulation and get blood flowing through your muscles. It will also help lengthen the muscles that have been stuck in a shortened position. Stretching will also help improve your range of motion and make your joints feel less stiff. All of these benefits can help you rest and adjust to your new time zone or destination too.
For those of you who travel to play golf, the last thing you want is pain and stiffness. Stretching will help reset your body. If you have an injury, get it evaluated and treated before you travel. It’s not fun sitting for a prolonged period of time with pain. Plus, no one enjoys playing golf in pain.
Here are some stretches you can do at the airport, at the hotel, at your home, at your office, or anywhere you have a few minutes to spare. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat on each side. You can perform the stretch several times if you want. It should not be painful. You should only feel a light pull. Once in the stretch position; hold it, relax and breathe. If any of these stretches create pain, stop immediately and consult your physician.
Dr.Sese is the Clinical Director at the Washington Golf Performance Institute in Bellevue, WA.