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One of the most well-received games worldwide, golf is known as a leisure sport and a gentleman’s game. However, there are some misconceptions concerning the game. Several folks perceive it as a faux sport for the unfit who are concerned with drinking beer, riding in golf carts, and only pausing long enough to hit the wayward shot. This couldn’t be further from the truth, especially since there are many health benefits of golfing, some which we will disclose in this article.
Health Benefits of Golfing
Golf is a mentally stimulating and a physically demanding game. At first, it might not seem like it, but if done right, it is one of the healthiest physical activities. By done right, I mean walking around the course while carrying your golf bag as this is where the value is.
Other than moving your pocket, you are outside walking at a pace of 7 km or so an hour for several hours as you have to cover 30 to 200 acres for a single round, and are regularly using your brain. If done consistently, the health and mental benefits are incomparable.
Now on to the meat of this article:
1. Burns Calories
Burning calories had to come first on our list of top health benefits of golf. Golfers burn a staggering 1500 kCal for female golfers to 2500 kCal for male golfers if done right. The possibility of burning that many calories makes golf the perfect sport for persons struggling with weight loss. Again, avoid the golf carts and carry your clubs. You will burn through roughly 1442 calories if you cart your clubs, 1436 calories if you use a pull caddy, 1226 calories with a caddie carrying your bag, and 822 calories while in a golf cart.
For weight loss, you have to make 10,000 steps a day, and a single round of 18-hole golf effortlessly surpasses this. The number of calories lost again depends on the terrain and weather as hillier courses will work you out more, but even a flatter layout burns tons of calories as you still have to cover approximately 6 to 7 miles.
If going on foot for long distances isn’t doable, say for health reasons, golf is still the sport for you as it can burn 100-300 calories every ½ hour even when using a cart. Bottom-line is, golf is a better alternative for persons who don’t like exercise and detest the gym. Nevertheless, this can all be undone by a poor post-game refreshment, say a pint, and thus adopt a proper post-game regimen.
2. Brain Stimulation
The brain like most other muscles has to stay engaged in demanding activities for it to develop. Keeping the mind active, is another key value of golfing and had to be on our list of top golf health benefits.
Every hole, especially an intricately designed hole, is a puzzle and brute force does not help if you want to record high scores. You, therefore, have to dissect the track, learn the basics surrounding the clubs and how to play from various terrains. This problem solving keeps the mind sharp.
Other than developing mental abilities, golf keeps your mind in top shape thanks to the physical activity involved. The walking and hand exercises ensure your brain has a high blood supply which is vital for it to function better. The healthy blood supply also betters nerve connections and delays mental illnesses.
The logical functions, i.e., tallying scores, hand-eye coordination, improving strategy, etc., keep the brain active, strengthening the brain's memory circuits, as well as bettering cognitive abilities such as thinking and reasoning. By and large, regular golfing is an excellent way to reduce the brains aging process in seniors as well as improve cognitive abilities such as memory skills in all players.
3. Increases Life Expectancy
Following on our list of top health benefits of golf is higher life expectancy. According to a study done in Sweden, golfers are 40% less likely to pass on unlike non-golfers of the same age, and golfing can add five years to your life regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Dr. Andrew Murray from Edinburgh University echoes this as his research discovered that golfers are more likely to live longer than non-golfers. Apparently, the physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy. Consequently, the study goes on to show that low-handicap players had longer lifespans, unlike high handicap players.
The higher life expectancy can be attributed to the physical activity golfers engage in. However, this couldn’t be ascertained as researchers couldn’t gauge the physical activity non-golfers participate in. Another critical factor that features prominently in longer lifespans for golfers was the stress-relieving benefits of being outside (discussed below) and the social interactions. For maximum benefit, again, observe a proper post-game regimen, adopt a strict no cart policy, carry your clubs, and work to lower your handicap.
4. Relieves Stress and Boosts Happiness Levels
“Golf does tick all the boxes for things you need for optimal well-being,” psychologist and Coach Miriam Akhtar quips. She goes on and says, “It offers important feel-good factors such as an active social life and regular physical activity of the best kind, i.e. ‘green exercise.'” which are the three critical ingredients for optimal wellbeing.
Being outside also improves self-esteem and enhances mood. The outdoors offers an invigorating environment where persons can relax, wind down, and recuperate from mental fatigue of work or studies. Also, golfing is a moderate exercise and moderate exercise is known to better, rather than quiet rest, safeguard people from anxiety. It not only lessens anxiety. but also helps people maintain that low level of stress even after the game.
5. Prevents Chronic Diseases
Renowned author Mark Twain dubbed golf as a “good walk spoiled.” However, golf is a life-extender as explained above. What’s more, though, is that the game prevents chronic diseases. A macro study printed in the British Journal deduced that playing golf shores up your heart health and betters your lung function. Golfing will also improve your arterial strength and has a generally positive effect on metabolism.
The study also shows that golfing will go a long way in helping those who suffer from chronic diseases such as breast and bowel cancer. Golfing is also a sound way of dealing with the after-effects of stroke.
6. Getting Vitamin D thus Improving your Bone Health
A few hours of sunlight will boost your vitamin D levels and golf will sure help with this. Vitamin D helps with your bone growth and heart health. Consequently, vitamin D controls the amount of calcium and phosphorous in the body.
Other than vitamin D, carrying your bag around the course is a good weight-bearing exercise that strengthens the bones preventing bone degeneration. Other than enhancing your bones, golfers report having more stamina and balance than non-golfers.
7. Improves Vision, Concentration, and Patience
Though not the most physically demanding sport, golf sure trounces other games when it comes to vision and concentration. Golfing requires rather good eyesight as players have to hone in on small targets, say the fairway or green which are often quite a long way out. For this, they need an incredible vision which gradually improves the more one plays. Other than sight, a golfer’s hand-eye coordination is better than a non-golfers given that they are striking a small target.
Other central health benefits of golf are bettering one's concentration and patience. Concentration and patience starts with getting the perfect swing as refining ones swing requires a ton of focus and also works on a player’s endurance. You have got to be persistent as you will not get it on that first try. Making the perfect strike as well works on your concentration and patience.
8. Least Injury Prone Sport and Works Your Muscles
Golf is the least injury-prone sport. Safety might not sound like a benefit, but it sure increases the appeal of golf to other games. Moreover, it works on your core muscles, your butt, chest, back, and forearms.
The walking also improves your cardiovascular system while carrying your golf bag around is great for upper body strength. In conclusion, golf helps you develop your balance and stamina thanks to repeated golf practice.
9. Better Quality Sleep
Last on our list of top health benefits of golf is that it improves sleep quality. Exercise is known to aid sleep, but some activities are better at this and golf is one of them. Being outdoors in the beautiful and peaceful green scenery calms one down which leads to higher-quality sleep.
Other than the landscape, golf is a ‘purposeful activity' i.e., where you have a particular goal in mind as you work out. People who exercise like this are known to have a better sleep. Nonetheless, the benefits don't stop at just sleeping better as good quality sleep reduces one's risk of depression, anxiety, depression, and diabetes.
There are around 55 million golfers in the world on all socioeconomic levels. The fact that such a massive number of people is potentially benefiting from the health benefits of golf is impressive. However, more needs to be done to get more people involved and seeing as golf knows no age or physical ability, everyone stands to benefit.