There are many, many ways to improve your golf swing and lower your handicap. Some are complex and need the expertise of a PGA professional golf instructor. Some fixes involve hours and hours of repetitive work at the range and putting green. However, what if you don’t have that much time to devote to perfecting your golf swing? What can you do? The answer: stand more.
I am a professional photographer and filmmaker and an avid golfer. It used to not be uncommon for me to spend upwards of seven to eight hours sitting in front of the computer working on images and film clips on a daily basis. After years of enduring frequent neck pain and occasional lower back pain, I started to do a little research on some of the benefits of standing at the computer versus sitting all day.
I found that sitting for extended times was not good for me. There are the obvious negative aspects of daily sitting as a way of life, such as developing poor posture and increased obesity. However, there are some internal issues that I didn’t even know about. One article I read documented the increased risk of colon cancer, and lung cancer by up to a “10% more likelihood” just by sitting for only two hours per day! Another article noted the connection between cardiovascular disease along with diabetes and hypertension from simply sitting all day at work. It is no surprise that sitting all day is as bad for you as smoking, or it might even be worse.
Last summer, I invested in a Next Desk electric stand up desk for my business. There are many options out there, but the Next Desk product was the best fit for my style of workflow. It has solid construction, powerful motors to lift my heavy monitors without rattling and the desk has generous real estate at 63 inches.
Standing everyday at my desk took a little getting used to. I started out by standing for an hour and then sitting for an hour. Over a week or two I increased my standing time to an hour and thirty minutes for each block. Within a month of using my stand up desk, I was standing for about seven hours and only sitting for one, on a full day of computer work.
It has been about six months since the desk arrived and here’s what has happened to me. First, the neck pain is gone. I noticed that over a day of sitting, my posture would change and I found myself leaning into the computer, putting a strain on the back of my neck. Some mornings I would wake up immobilized from neck pain. That hasn’t happened since I started standing.
Aside from all the good things I’m doing for myself internally one huge attribute I have gained from standing, is a better golf game.
Six months ago, I was a 13 handicap. Today, I’m a 10 handicap.
One of my golf issues, I’m sure others have had this problem, is that during the golf swing my base can become unstable. What I mean by that is, I would start to sway from my heels to my toes and then back again during the golf swing. This would result in thinly hit shots or shots where I would hit it fat and scoop up a pound of turf.
Another issue I had was that my swing would radically change by about the sixteenth hole. My legs would get tired and I’d stop driving through the ball with my legs. Thereby not getting the power in my swing as I had earlier in the day. The results were week fades and slices of the golf ball that nobody likes.
The improvement has been gradual but over the last six months my legs have become stronger. I attribute that at some level to standing all day rather than sitting.
The connection between my ankles and feet has had to improve in strength from the days of standing. The muscles that are around the pelvis that works to keep the hips steady as we stand are becoming stronger. My feet have become more flexible and have improved in strength as well as my back muscles have improved. My core gets some attention from keeping my body stable while standing at my computer as well. All of this daily therapy has benefited my golf swing.
It’s no coincidence that the professional golfers are spending many hours per day in the gym exercising their core muscles, strengthening their legs, their feet and back. This kind of physical work is proven to better your golf game!
What about the weekend golfer that doesn’t have a conditioning coach to keep them in shape or the time to spend hours a day at the gym? Try standing more. You can do it while you watch television and other activities, however, the time you spend sitting at work can be turned into time to make yourself healthier and to improve your golf game without ever hitting an additional practice ball.
With all the health benefits of standing at your desk it might be time to consider a change. Try standing as you work, you might gain more for yourself than just a better golf swing.
Terry VanderHeiden is a photographer, filmmaker and golf writer since 1993. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org