Shocking: Exercise Made Me Better at Golf and Shooting
After Christmas I stepped on a scale for the first time in months. I knew it wasn't going to be good since the last heavy activity I engaged in was heavy walking while deer hunting at the end of November. I had eaten enough food to feed a family of tigers every day around Christmas and New Years. That moment of truth came when my digital scale stopped blinking and told me the news: I weighed 285.
Holy balls! You would think that was the wake up call. It wasn't. I dropped about 8 pounds and then started getting lazy again.
Fast forward to early June and I was right back where I started, 285. But I was not watching what I ate at all. So I got hard on myself and not only started watching what I ate but also committing to at least four days of working out every week. My regimen has consisted of a combination of jogging, walking, and some light weights. I'm not interested in getting huge but in getting fit and losing weight, most notably, making sure my core is strong and flexible so that my back feels good and I don't end up with third back surgery. So far I'm down 10 pounds and I've put on a little bit of muscle in some places that is starting to show itself and that's great.
Last weekend I noticed a strange and unexpected consequence to all of this exercise, something I had not even considered happening. I performed better at my too favorite hobbies, golf and shooting. Isn't that crazy? By being in shape, physical activities are easier and your performance improves. Thanks, Captain Obvious!
While I am being sarcastic, I also mean it. When I played football in college I exercised because I was in training, I needed to be strong and as fast a lineman can be and still be big. So now when I'm exercising I'm not "training" as much as I am trying to "not be fat" so I never thought of it as training, even though it was.
I first noticed this on Thursday when I played in a golf tournament at Willow Run. I had not played golf in two weeks and my swing was a little off at first, but not in a bad way, a weird way. I was hitting my shots well, but I was consistently hitting them well left of where I was aiming. One guy I was playing with told me I was really getting well turned on my backswing, like the club head was probably visible to me. It was, something I had never done before. I was also hitting the ball farther than normal. Of course, I hit some terrible shots too, that's just because I'm not a great golfer, but things seemed a little easier swinging my clubs. I wondered if it was because of the stretching and core work. I had a beer and forgot about it for a couple days.
Then on Saturday morning I shot a service rifle "High Power C" match at Big Sioux Rifle and Pistol Club. The first two stages were shooting from a prone position and I did as well as I usually do. But you're laying on your stomach and pulling a trigger, not hard. But the third position, seated, has always been my nemesis. You butt is on the ground, your knees have to be up to help you support the rifle, and I always felt like my gut was in the way of breathing. It was also really uncomfortable for my back. But this time it didn't hurt. I could breathe just fine. And I was able to support my rifle just fine placing my elbows on my knees. When I saw my target after that stage I was in shock. Normally I score around 50 out of 100 in the seated position. This time I notched an 81, and all ten shots scored whereas I would normally miss the paper completely with a couple. I finished the match with a 406, my best score by over 50 points and I didn't even practice. I just showed up and did better.
Exercise, I figured, could certainly help shooting in 3-gun matches. Since running is involved exercise would obviously help. But I never thought exercise would help me when I'm competing in a shooting event where you don't really move much more than your trigger finger. But it did.
I always thought it was silly that professional golfers today were so jacked they looked like pro football players or Navy Seals or something other than a golfer. But after this weekend I get it.
I wonder if exercise could help gamers too?