What are the health benefits of playing golf?
So what are the health benefits of playing golf? Golf is a sport that is often picked up later in life. The average age of an amateur golfer is between 50-60 depending on country of residence and is seen by most as a relatively low intensity option for sport as we age. It is often turned to as an alternative to another sport that the body can no longer handle and provides a continued feel of competition and participation.
So as a sport that is typically taken up as a low intensity alternative, how good for us is it? What health benefits does it provide? And is it a good way to stay in shape?
Quick answer: It can lead to a happier, healthier, longer life.
As I mentioned in a previous article (Is golf a good way to lose weight), during 18 holes of golf, a golfer (regardless of handicap) will walk in excess of 10,000 steps and will cover on average 6.5 miles.
Taking away the golf, the health benefits of walking this distance on a regular basis are undervalued. This type of activity will improve cardiovascular fitness whilst also reducing high blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of heart disease. It will improve joint health, boost circulation and build bone strength whilst also providing a good basis for fat loss and weight management.
Do you live longer if you play golf?
When we add in the demands of golf, there will also be stimulus for improved balance, coordination and suppleness. The physical demand of this seemingly low intensity sport is more than sufficient for making drastic changes to our health and well being. These benefits will all prolong your life. In fact, a study on Swedish golfers showed an increased life expectancy of 5 years in golfers vs non-golfers. Some studies have also shown that golfers possess stronger grip and lower body strength compared to their non-golfing peers.
Golf can be a good investment for the health, according to a new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. The death rate for golfers is 40 per cent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status, which correspond to a 5 year increase in life expectancy. Golfers with a low handicap are the safest.Karolinska Institutet, June 3rd 2008
Is Golf good for your brain?
There are mental benefits as well as the health benefits of playing golf. The physical demands of golf will stimulate neurogenesis and will delay cognitive decline and memory loss. Whether you play well or not, the exercise will also provide a boost in endorphin levels helping combat depression, anxiety and stress. Golf is also a highly social sport. This feeling of belonging, group support and social interaction can provide self confidence and motivation to golfers of all ages.
What is the advantage of playing golf?
Something that needs to be considered however, is that the majority of health benefits of playing golf, occur from the exercise part of the sport. If a cart is used, the positive health effects are significantly reduced. Typically we see the amount of steps taken cut in half compared to walking. There will also be a significant reduction in cardiovascular demand as the majority of the longer distance walks or those with sharp gradients will be removed. Although the social and some physical benefits could be taken, it is safe to say that the overall health benefits are largely removed with the addition of a cart.
Golf is a great way to live a long healthy life. If you are unable to play without using a cart then it would be highly beneficial to have other activities that provide health and well being adaptations.
The 7 Benefits to Playing Golf!
- Improve Cardiovascular Fitness
- Reduce High Blood Pressure
- Boost Circulation
- Build Bone Strength
- Mental Heath Benefits from Social Interaction
- Improve Brain Heath by Stimulating Neurogenesis
I hope you’ve enjoyed this expert opinion on Golf Fitness. For free advice and guidance on your golf fitness, why not join Team Macro Golf for free at TeamMacroGolf or follow Joe on Instagram @Joe_MacroGolf