Golf improves with chiropractic care and proper breathing.
Posted Jun 23 2009 6:54pm
Golf is an important part of my life and as a chiropractor, I address all the physical aspects of my game from my spine to my breathing. I played golf over this weekend and noticed that if I controlled my breathing, I played much better. There were a couple of reasons why this is.
Obviously, you know that if we don’t breathe, we don’t live and it is real hard to play golf if that happens. Our bodies depend on oxygen to run all the functions inside us. Our lungs are nice and big to bring in as much oxygen as possible. However, most of the time, we only use a portion of our full lung capacity. When we are at rest, we take several small breaths and then periodically we will take a large deep breath, filling our lungs. When we exercise, we breath deeper and more rapidly. This is a normal function of our lungs and the muscles that cause our lungs to be able to obtain that air.
Being tense or excited, like I usually get when I am playing golf, causes you to breath more rapidly and more shallow. There are many other muscles which help to fill the lungs and to force the air out of the lungs as well. These include the muscles between the ribs, intercostal muscles and extra helper muscles in the upper chest and into the neck, the scalenes. These extra muscles are not greatly involved in the resting process but more so with exertion.
The problems start when we are under stress and take rapid shallow breaths, using these extra muscles more than normal and fail the use the diaphragm to take the deep filling breaths. The extra helper muscles get fatigued and then neck pain, chest pain and other symptoms can occur. This will affect the golf game. I teach my chiropractic patients that golf about deep abdominal breathing as well as stress reduction which goes a long way to help these problems and make the game more successful.
Try this exercise. Lie down and put one hand on your upper chest and the other on your stomach or abdominal area. Which hand is moving? If the hand on your chest is moving the most you are doing too much shallow breathing, using the extra helper muscles. Concentrate on taking deep breaths with your diaphragm. In other words, breathe in by pushing your stomach out and not moving the hand on your chest. This is hard to do initially but with practice you will actually bring in more air to the deeper areas of your lungs and feel better. By doing this exercise frequently, you will retrain your body to breath correctly. This will help reduce stress. Give it a try and enjoy the fresh air.