Studies show about three-quarters of all Americans will experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Of them, more than 2 million people who seek treatment each year will learn they suffer from an overuse condition called plantar fasciitis. Fortunately, according to Bend physical therapist Chris Cooper, most cases of plantar fasciitis are both manageable and treatable.

It is estimated that about 29 million Americans hit the links for at least one round of golf each year. That is 1 in 10 people in the U.S., according to the National Golf Foundation. But while golf is often considered a safe, low-impact, leisurely activity for people of all ages and abilities, that impression vastly underestimates the impact golf has on the body, says Bend physical therapist (PT) and Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified Golf Fitness Instructor Chris Cooper.

Somebody says the word “exercise,” and my first thought turns to a certain 1970s horror film and split pea soup. In other words, I’ve never really been a workout guy. So I felt like a “D” law school student heading to the bar exam last week when Chris Cooper, a Bend physical therapist and Titleist Performance Institute-certified golf fitness instructor, asked me to perform a TPI golf fitness test at the Athletic Club of Bend.

To make the winter fruitful for your game next spring, I talked with a local fitness expert to get some advice on workouts that all of us can do to keep the strength and flexibility required for a strong swing. Chris Cooper works out of the Therapeutic Associates office at the Athletic Club of Bend, is a certified fitness and medical professional through the Titleist Performance Institute (T.P.I.), and hosts regular talks on fitness as it relates to the golf swing at the Tetherow Golf Academy in Bend.

Low-back pain in golfers is often related to a lack of flexibility in the hip sockets and thoracic (midback) spine, said Chris Cooper, a physical therapist at Therapeutic Associates at the Athletic Club of Bend and Titleist Performance Institute-certified golf fitness instructor. The lumbar spine (lower back) is not built for much rotation, Cooper said. Rather, it exists for stability.

Common thought has long been that a good stretch before a hard workout was the right thing to do. Stretching before any rigorous activity was supposed to reduce injury and improve performance. However, some research suggests that stretching does neither. According to a 2011 position paper from the American College of Sports Medicine, stretching does not prevent injuries, back pain or muscle soreness. And, according to the ACSM paper and local experts, stretching prior to activity can diminish muscle strength, power and sports performance.

Until he began training specifically for golf in December for the first time, he never realized the benefits he could see in his golf game. With a handicap index hovering around 10, Boos embarked on a 12-week Titleist Performance Institute program, designed by Bend physical therapist Chris Cooper, focused on improving mobility and stability. The result, says Boos, has been hard to deny. After a few weeks he noticed he could swing with greater clubhead speed, his balance was better, and he was making more consistent contact with the ball.

Exercise and golf haven’t always gone together. But increasingly, golfers have turned to exercise to improve their games and help them avoid injury. The following is an exercise regimen specifically for golfers suggested by Chris Cooper, a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist for Therapeutic Associates at the Athletic Club of Bend. He specializes in golf injury rehabilitation and runs a performance conditioning program.