Whilst golf may not be considered as the most physically demanding of sports, it can be both a mentally stimulating and physically challenging pastime. In fact, many underestimate how one round of golf, can be good not only for the body but the brain as well.
Here are ten health benefits associated with golf
1. Exposure to the outdoors and fresh air
Nature is an outdoor sport played on courses that are 6,000 or 7,000 yards long. Golfers are directly exposed to nature which has many benefits for the mind and the body. Constant exposure to green areas allows the body to soak up vitamin D from the sun, which helps promote bone growth and reduces the risk of depression, cardio-vascular disease and certain cancers.
2. Improves the heart rate
As with any form of physical exercise, golf helps gets the blood pumping to the heart. Walking at a pace of 6 -7 km for several hours on end, carrying your bag and clubs, and swinging, all increase your heart rate and blood flow. This can have a positive effect in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, especially if combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet. In fact, a study has found that during one 18-hole round of golf, a player will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute, over a two to five hour period.
3. Helps you lose weight
Golf is very helpful when it comes to losing weight because of the calories burned and the number of steps taken. Medical experts agree that individuals need to take at least 10,000 steps a day to lose weight. With a round of golf, this number is easily exceeded, especially if you walk all the way and do not use a golf cart. Furthermore, research projects carried out in the US, Japan, Germany, Norway and Sweden have revealed that the average male golfer burns around 2,500 calories during a 18 hole round, and female players 1,500 calories.
4. Strengthens the bladder
Rather surprisingly, golf can help strengthen the capacity of the bladder, because it can be a long way to the next rest room, so you have to learn to hold it. Some women golfers have also noted that it is an effective way of strengthening the leg muscles, especially the quadriceps, when they are struggling to “hold it in” and have to resort to crouching.
5. Fosters relationships
Golf is essentially a sociable sport, and can be a great way to keep in touch with friends or meet new people. As it is not as competitive a sport as football or tennis, there is lots of time for talking and interacting with fellow golfers during a round. It is not by chance that so many business deals are agreed on the golf course!
6. Mental stimulation
Regular daily walking strengthens the brain’s memory circuits and helps stave off diseases like Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Keeping physically active is a major way to keep the heart and the brain healthy. By keeping healthy, you make sure that your brain has a good, strong blood supply, which is essential, both now and in the future, to make it function better.
7. Reduces stress levels
Golf is an outdoor sport allowing you to walk in the open air, in the midst of lush-green surroundings, interacting with your fellow players, and setting you a series of mental challenges to overcome as well. All this gives you pleasure, and releases the endorphins in your brain, the natural mood-enhancing chemicals, reducing stress levels.
8. Improved sleep
Regular exercise and fresh air are important components when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Walking the golf course will give you a good workout, helping you sleep faster and better after a round. Sleep is important to rejuvenate the mind and the body, and helps muscles rest and repair.
9. Low injury risk
Compared to many sports, there is a lower risk of injury with golf, which is non-contact, and is usually played on flat, or gently undulating, courses. This can appeal to older players because they know that they can play and burn calories, without much physical risk. However, one common injury to which golfers are susceptible, is lower back and spine pain. If you do find yourself experiencing such systems, it is recommended that you consult with a medical professional before you next take to the links.
Of course, there are things a player can do to prevent injury, include adequately warming up and stretching the arms, back and shoulders before starting a round, wearing the right protective clothing, including gloves and drinking plenty of water, both before and during a round, to prevent dehydration.
10. Longer Life Expectancy
A Swedish study by the prestigious Karolinska Institute, found that golfers have a 40% lower death rate, corresponding to a five-year increase in life expectancy.