Stress and recreation should be opposites, but unfortunately, they have become one and the same when it comes to sports.
The first mistake recreational athletes make is to compare and model themselves after professional athletes. Remember, professional athletes are going to “work” and trying to make a living at their sport. The recreation athlete is at least in theory “playing” their sport for recreational purposes.
The word recreation is defined by Websters dictionary as follows:
A pastime, sport, or exercise as a means to refresh one’s body or mind.
How many recreation athletes are truly rejuvenated from stress after their activity, particulary golf. The reason this is so rare is competition has replaced recreation. Judging ourselves based on performance, comparing ourselves to others and our own self-critic have left most recreational athletes “stressed out” after their activity.
To understand stress and how the body handles it, all you need is a small rubber ball that will fit in your palm. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can and don’t release pressure. Soon, your hand will ache and you will have to release. Then squeeze the ball just as hard but for only twenty seconds. Then shake out your hand and rest for five minutes, then repeat.
The first test quickly overloaded the muscles in your hand because the effort was constant. The second test could have been done over and over because there was a period of rest. The body can deal with an amazing amount of stress as long as there is a period of rest and rejuvenation.
Stress is the number one killer in America.
Is it any wonder why, when our recreational time has become “work.” The golf swing can be a wonderful rejuvenator because the body loves to store enegy and release it. Have you ever laid on the couch all day resting and felt worse than you did before you lay down?
You have to create energy and then release it to get the true rejuvenation benefits. How good does it feel to lift weights or get aerobic excercise, have a nice shower and then fall on the couch? Golf is a game to rejuvenate the mind because it is mostly mental energy that that you store and release when you swing correctly. I have found nothing to clear my head better then crushing a drive with effortless power, watching the flight of the ball, my arms limp over my shoulder and a smile on my face.
Which would you choose?