Dr. Mehmet Oz, 50, hosts the television program "The Dr. Oz Show."
Courtesy of the Dr. Oz Show
Tuesday, January 04, 2011

To help you play and feel better, one of the nation's most renowned physicians answers health questions submitted by readers to Golf.com

\nDr. Oz, I always take a cart when I play golf. My wife thinks that does nothing for me, but something is better than nothing, right?
\nYou're partially right — one study showed that just swinging a club for 18 holes burned an average of 411 calories. Moreover, the swing is great for your trunk muscles, particularly your obliques. But I agree with your wife and suggest you ditch the cart. Studies show that one walking round equals about 10,000 steps, which meets the daily physical activity recommendation of 2.5 miles. Moreover, if you walk and carry your clubs, you burn more than 700 calories.

\nI run and strength-train almost every day. Is this detrimental to my game?
\nRunning is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and endurance — and it will help you keep up your energy and focus through those important last holes in a round. But by far the best exercise you can do for golf is strengthening your rotator cuff muscles. Try this simple shoulder exercise: Lie on your side with your arm bent at a 90-degree angle and a 3-pound weight in your hand and rotate your arm up to the sky. Repeat this movement 12-15 times with each arm.

\nLike Phil Mickelson, I've recently begun feeling the effects of arthritis — in my case, in my hands and wrists. Will this end my days as a golfer? How can I stave off the effects?
\nArthritis results in painful inflammation, swelling, and stiffness that limit movement. Anti-inflammatory medications — such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen — can relieve occasional pain. These can be harmful if taken regularly, however, so don't consider them a long-term solution. Another option is a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, natural supplements that can reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis and maybe even repair cartilage. For a natural way to relieve pain, try hot-wax dips or icing joints. To prevent future damage, keep your joints active and strengthen the muscles around your hands and wrists. Strong muscles keep joints from rubbing against one another, which wears down cartilage. Check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis and a long-term treatment plan.

\nDr. Mehmet Oz, 50, who was named one of the world's most influential people by Time Magazine in 2008, hosts the syndicated 'The Dr. Oz Show.' For more information, visit DoctorOz.com.

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