Why Golf is Good for Your Health
Next time your significant other gives you flak for renting clubs and spending five hours greenside, tell them you’re playing golf to improve your health. Here are 10 reasons why that’s a valid argument:
- Heart health – As with any form of physical exercise, golfing gets the blood flowing to your heart. As you walk around the course, swing the driver, and carry your bag, your heart rate and blood flow increase. The Norwegian Golf Federation (NGF) found that during an 18-hole round, a player will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute over a two to five-hour period.
- Coordination – Golf is a game that requires superb coordination. The hand-eye coordination required to hit the ball with precision, the maintenance of balance necessary to swing your TaylorMade club – these tasks put demands on your cerebellum, the part of your brain that controls coordination.
- Brain invigoration – Routine daily walking, like the walking you do on a course, improves the brain’s memory circuits. Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, says: ‘Whether it is going for a jog or walking the golf course, keeping physically active is a great way to keep your heart and your brain healthy. By keeping active you make sure your brain has a good, strong blood supply, which is essential to help it function better now and in future.”
- LB loss – Next time you demo a set of PXGs, be sure to wear your FitBit. You probably know you walk a lot when you play, but you’re still likely to be impressed with how much you moved. The magic number of steps per day needed for weight loss is 10,000. Playing a full 18-holes readily eclipses this threshold, particularly if you decide to walk and skip the golf cart.
- Stress reduction – Spending time outside is known to decrease depression and anxiety. Combine that effect with the release of endorphins (the feel-good chemicals in your brain) when socializing, and you’ll understand why golf is a major mood-booster.
- Better sleep – Making your way around a golf course means getting exercise and plenty of fresh air. Exercise and spending time outdoors can act as potent sleeping aids and will help you rest better.
- Vision workout – Golf requires focus, not only when the ball is at your feet, but also when you hit it onto the green. Accidentally lose sight of the ball after you hit? Not a big deal, you’ll still get a visual workout as you look for it in the grass, stimulating the tracking functions in your brain.
- Low impact – Golf is popular among all age groups, but particularly more mature age groups. A lot of this has to do with the fact that playing golf is a low-impact sport. Walking on manicured grass and gentle rolling hills stimulates muscles without hurting the joints.
- Socializing – Spending time with others is not only good for the soul, but good for your brain. It’s proven that socializing increases cognitive function. So next time you decided to rent some sticks on a weekend getaway with friends, no need to feel guilty about it.
- Longer living – The best reason to play golf? To increase your life expectancy! A Swedish study by the Karolinska Institutet led by Professor Anders Ahlbom, found that golfers have a 40% lower death rate, which corresponds to a 5-year increase in life expectancy (read Golf: A game of life and death – reduced mortality in Swedish players). Golf, it’s the true Fountain of Youth.