Alison Brown, Director of the Natural Fitness Centre in Eastbourne looks at how you can improve your chances of staying fit and healthy into your later years.
Here at the Natural Fitness Centre we specialise in supportive health for over 50s. Our clients range from super fit to those recovering from operation and illness, and those who have never taken exercise in any organised way.
Here are some of the things people often say to me:
- ‘I want to carry on playing golf but my balance is going.’
- ‘I want to continue with my twice weekly tennis sessions but my shoulders and knees hurt too much.’
- ‘I still love running but I feel so stiff.’
If this sounds familiar, and you want to continue playing golf and tennis or to run well into later life, you need to stay strong, supple and injury free.
Staying active over 50
John is 56 years old. He uses yoga to improve his balance and osteopathy to keep an old elbow injury from preventing him from playing. John was told by his GP to abstain from tennis until his sprain was healed. He had read that in some cases receiving individual exercise techniques and gentle manipulation from an experienced osteopath could get him back into the game much quicker. He also found that a regular weekly yoga class helped to align and strengthen the whole of his upper body, and kept his hamstrings lengthened.
Christine, 66 started pilates classes 5 years ago when she found that her body was developing imbalances and she was struggling in her doubles tennis tournaments. The strength alignment and improved posture she learned in her classes have not only improved her body but also her tennis!
How pilates can help with golf injuries
Many mature golfers suffer from lower back pain. It’s been reported that some 80% of golfers either play with back pain or have experienced low back injury at some point in their golfing life. The only way to prevent low back pain or injury is to strengthen and stretch your lower back.
Golf, like pilates, is about stability and the ability to hold a position long enough to play through a shot without the body buckling or twisting. Also repeating similar movements efficiently, effectively and precisely.
Pilates is about core strength, movement from the centre of the body, flexibility, precise movements and tiny margins. A small improvement in a golfer’s shoulder flexibility, for example, can be the difference between a drive from the tee veering into the rough or going straight onto the green. This can also be applied to the body’s movement patterns during a tennis game.
Pilates addresses the need for excellent rotation around the spine while maintaining stability through the abdominal muscles. The shoulders and arms also need to be stable in order to control a shot. Seve Ballesteros says this about Pilates: ‘I believe it is making a difference. It needs patience, but if it will help me on the golf course I will do it.’
Those of you who continue to run through your 50s, 60s and 70s realise that with each decade the leg muscles can become shorter and tighter. A regular yoga session and massage can really help with hamstring flexibility, circulation and quality of soft tissue.
If after all this careful stretching and mobilising you still sustain an injury, consider acupuncture, massage, osteopathy and sports injury therapy to speed up the healing process and get you back out there.
Did you know, even the Chelsea Football team use Pilates as part of their overall training programme.
Do you live in Eastbourne? Visit us at the Natural Fitness Centre
All activities mentioned above are available at the Natural Fitness Centre, overlooking Eastbourne’s beautiful beach front, with free health consultations and tasters. Visit our website to find out more or phone us on 01323 732024.
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