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Mind, Body, Fuel: Keeping Your Golf Game and Body Healthy

May 28, 2021

Phil Mickelson made history with his recent win at the PGA Championship, becoming at age 50 the oldest player to win a major title. The victory not only cemented his name in the record books, but it also provided inspiration to golfers age 50 and up everywhere, proving it’s possible to play the game well into the back nine of life. And while you may not be competing for the Wannamaker Trophy or teeing off at the Travelers Golf Tournament in Cromwell starting June 21, it’s still important to keep yourself prepared to play no matter what you’re handicap and make sure you take every precaution to avoid injuries, maintain muscle health and optimize your nutrition. Sarah Emlaw, Site Supervisor for Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network’s outpatient clinic at the Center for Musculoskeletal Health at Hartford HealthCare’s Bone & Joint Institute. has some tips that will help get your game and your body ready to play your best this golf season and beyond: As a natural part of aging, our bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments change. Joints become stiffer and less flexible. Cartilage begins to wear away leading to more “bone-on-bone” degenerative changes. And Mickelson, who has psoriatic arthritis, has been able to stay ahead of these changes and win a professional title.  Maximal muscle mass and strength are reached in the 20s and 30s followed by a gradual decline. Once age 60 approaches, the loss of muscle accelerates. This commonly leads to changes in posture, increased fat composition and muscle wasting if not used. In addition, aged muscles are prone to injury and take longer to repair. If not provided appropriate recovery, in terms of both rest & nutrition, this can lead to further injury. So what has made Mickelson so successful and what can you do to help keep your body and game sharp? Regular exercise to use and appropriately load muscles and bone will help to maintain lean muscle mass and increase bone density. Proper nutrition will help to keep focus, power and stamina through the game and help to replenish and repair the body after the game. This includes adequate hydration, protein and carbohydrate intake which are important components to boost protein synthesis to repair muscle damage. Hydration, including both carbohydrates and electrolytes, assist with muscle recovery to maintain adequate muscle contraction and strength. At the Center for Musculoskeletal Health, we follow three core beliefs; Mind. Body. Fuel. We know that “one size fits one” meaning every individual is different, so we tailor everyone’s exercise programming and nutrition to fit their individual needs. Our specialized services include rehabilitation, mental health, nutrition, and strength & conditioning programs all of which are geared towards helping you perform your best both on and off the course. For more information about how Sarah Emlaw and her colleagues at the Center for Musculoskeletal Health can help you remain on top of your game, click here.