When I think about game improvement in golf, I think about taking lessons, getting new clubs, buying that new training aid that advertises on the golf channel non stop and even hitting the gym. If you are anything like the average golfer, chances are you have done one or all of these things to try to improve your game. The reality is, the average golfer doesn’t have the ability to dedicate as much time to practicing, as they would like. Almost every average golfer would rather spend more time at the range or on the course as opposed to at their desk, but there is something we can all do to improve our game while we are stuck at work that the majority of us don’t take advantage of.
There are drastic physical implications tied to sitting at a desk for six or more hours every day. There is extensive literature that suggests our sedentary desk jobs are literally killing us slowly. Sitting also does not promote the best posture and back support that we strive for on the golf course.
In order to better understand the physical implications a desk job can have on the body I asked Dr. Patrick Malartsik of Elite Performance Chiropractic to explain it to me. In his words:
“The golf swing needs to have normal movement from the heel, to the hip, the pelvis, spine, and into the shoulders. When someone is sedentary for 40 hours per week and there is chronic tissue damage resulting in a lack of range of motion, there can be physical ailments in the golf swing. A golfer can get all the golf lessons in the world but you need to restore the proper range of motion in order to achieve the ‘ideal’ golf swing.”
The fact that sitting at your desk can cause tissue damage made me cringe. All the work at the range we struggle to fit in was being compromised as soon as we sit down at our desks on Monday morning.
So what can we do about it? Dr. Malartsik says:
“I would advise everyone to stand up and stretch at least 1-2 times per hour of sitting. The human body was created for movement, not sitting. Holding any posture for a period of time will increase tissue stiffness and tension. As a result, sitting is the most common cause for back and neck pain. You will see many advertisements and websites that say they have a chair or device that can stop back pain but remember that the best chair is the one you get out of frequently!”
After hearing about the damage our chairs have on our backs I was determined to fight back. I wasn’t going to take the punishment my chair was causing my golf game sitting down. Literally.
In order to fight back I tried the following things at work.
1) Set reminders – I used my Google calendar to set reminders to get up and walk around a little bit during the day. At first I set them for every 30 minutes, but quickly realized that this was too frequent and honestly annoying.
2) Standing Desk – I took two card board boxes and propped my laptop up on them to bring them to eye level. This actually isn’t that bad for short to intermediate periods of time. I can’t imagine doing this all day long, but for 30 minute periods it isn’t all that bad.
3) Stretched – This one is a little bit more awkward at times, but I actually took some time throughout the day to actually stretch. I felt much better at the end of the day and didn’t have the same level of tightness in my back and neck that I normally have at the end of the day.
All in all, I completely agree that our desk chairs are not only killing us, but also killing our golf swings. As bleak as it may seem, I do believe that there are some practical applications one can implement in their daily routine to fight the effects of sitting all day. If you have any other techniques or tips feel free to share. Also, if you are interested in getting a physical evaluation and professional help check out Dr. Malartsik’s practice located in River North here in Chicago called Elite Performance Chiropractic.