Want better physical and mental health? Get out on the golf course!
Golf may not be something you immediately think about when it comes to doing something for your health – after all, it’s a low impact sport, and you may not feel that it’s strenuous enough to provide many health benefits. However, there you’d be wrong – because playing golf can go a long way towards improving your quality of health and your quality of life. Golf is fantastic for your physical, mental and emotional health (as long as you don’t get too upset over that mis-cued shot that lands in the bunker, of course!). Research has found that playing golf at least once a month was associated with a lower risk of death – a risk that dropped the more time that was spent playing golf. There are many reasons for this – despite the game’s slow-paced reputation – and they’re all a great excuse to get out and hit the course more often.
Golf improves your physical health
While it’s fair to say that golfers don’t usually demonstrate sweat-drenched, explosive feats of athleticism, golf still counts as physical activity. And in a society that is becoming increasingly overweight and failing to meet exercise guidelines, the importance of this cannot be overstated. Plus, if you’re having too much fun competing on the golf course to notice the amount of activity you’re doing, then that’s a win, and makes people much more likely to play regularly.
Golfing is great for your health – getting your blood pumping, burning calories and helping towards weight loss. You might not feel like you’re getting an intense workout, but golfers usually exceed 10,000 steps in a typical round of golf, which is the daily recommended requirement for exercise. Dragging a walker golf buggy around also helps with the calorie burn. And even if you need to use a golf buggy, you’re still getting the benefits of exercise, as you climb in and out of the buggy and hit your strokes. The continual activity helps improve your fitness, muscle tone and endurance, as well as losing body weight and fat – plus, it comes with a low risk for injury.
Walking the course and dragging your buggy is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health as well, and can be just as beneficial as running. The activity will raise your heart rate and increase blood flow to the heart, in turn reducing the risk of heart disease. And if you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, golf is a suitable way to exercise, and can be considered as a form of treatment for the problem as well as a preventative measure.
As well, playing regular golf can lead to stronger bones and improved posture, and will help ensure healthy bones as you age. Golf counts as the type of weight-bearing exercise that is good for your bones but easy on your joints, plus having more exposure to sunlight and vitamin D will also help your body absorb calcium to prevent bone loss.
Golf will also enable you to experience better quality sleep and to fall asleep easier, and will improve your vision and coordination, as you hone in on your target, hit your strokes and track the flight of the ball.
Golf is particularly good for older people, who may not be able to undertake a more strenuous exercise routine, as it allows them to still participate in physical activity. And it provides more interest for those who might find activities such as going for a walk or cycling to be a little too monotonous to do regularly.
Golf improves your mental health
Golf is not just a physical game however, it stimulates you mentally as well. The sport teaches focus, concentration and accuracy, and encourages decision making, problem solving and creativity. It’s good for your brain, as the increase in heart rate increases the blood flow to your brain, which stimulates and improves nerve cell connections. The mental aspect of the game also works to improve your mental capacity in much the same way as doing a puzzle. And all of this can help delay the onset of mental illnesses such as dementia.
As well, getting exercise and enjoying time spent in the great outdoors is great for reducing stress levels – as is the social aspect of golf. The release of endorphins will have the effect of making your happier and more relaxed, and can also reduce pain and feelings of depression.
Golf improves your emotional health
And we can’t forget emotional health! Golf is a great social sport, and fosters relationships in an enjoyable environment. Golf provides opportunities to spend time with friends, meet new people and helps develop a sense of community and connectedness. It’s a great way to stay in contact while getting in some exercise at the same time. It fosters a healthy sense of competition, which can be a good thing – encouraging you to challenge yourself and improve your skills.
So, there you have it, golf really is a hole-in-one for your health!
Don’t let ageing derail your golf game – try these tips instead.