Excess fat on your body -- in the form of saddlebags on your hips, a spare tire around your middle or flab anywhere else -- can hurt your golf game and your health. Today, many golfers -- amateurs and pros alike -- recognize the benefits of adding a physical fitness program to their golf regimens. Training on a treadmill can help you lose weight, improve your health and play better golf.
Golf and Weight Loss
Overweight golfers are at risk for the same problems as everyone else in the population: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. Along with the potential health risks, overweight golfers often struggle with the physical endurance needed get through four or five hours of walking the course and swinging a club. Unnecessary bulk and bulges can limit your flexibility, restrict your range of motion and ultimately diminish your performance on the course.
Treadmills are efficient fat-burning tools because they allow you to exercise aerobically in your fat-burning zone -- 75 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. Many machines allow you to monitor your heart rate, the calories you burn and the distance you cover as you exercise. The variable speeds on most machines provide you with the option of walking, jogging or running depending on your fitness level. You can also increase the elevation to simulate walking or running uphill. The surface of a treadmill is more cushioned than outdoor pavement, reducing impact on your joints.
Target Heart Rate
To calculate the fat-burning zone for a woman, subtract your age from 226. Multiply the answer by 0.75 to find the lower end of your fat-burning range and by 0.90 to find the upper end of your fat-burning range. To burn fat, you need to stay in that range for at least 30 minutes.
Golf courses often have changes in slope and elevation, and you can simulate walking a hilly course by adjusting the incline setting on the treadmill. This will help you lose weight by increasing the intensity of the exercise. As a bonus, you won't run out of breath climbing a fairway to your ball. In the course of a 30- to 40-minute walk, raise and lower the incline several times for five- or six-minute periods. Adjust the height of the incline as your fitness improves.
Golf fitness expert Randy Myers suggests golfers use interval-training techniques on the treadmill. One technique he recommends is three, one-minute intervals of walking backward at a 3- to 5-mph pace. He also advises intervals of side shuffles at 3 mph. Each interval consists of 30 seconds facing in each direction, and the intervals are repeated three times. He also suggests 30-second sprints at 7 mph followed by 30-second recovery periods. Repeat the sprints 10 times.
David Raudenbush has more than 20 years of experience as a literacy teacher, staff developer and literacy coach. He has written for newspapers, magazines and online publications, and served as the editor of "Golfstyles New Jersey Magazine." Raudenbush holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in education.