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Another Reason to Play: The Health Benefits of Golf


There is good news for golf fans; golf is remarkably good for your health. Many people (particularly non-golfers) view golf as a leisurely activity that provides little more health benefit than a stroll around a pleasant park, but actually that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although golf may not provide as strenuous a work out as running or playing tennis, is does burn off as many calories. Playing an 18-hole game of golf burns at least 900 calories.[1] Golf is also good for your heart, builds your core and muscle strength, and can help to lower your stress levels. Here are the most important health benefits of playing regular golf, and ways different parts of your game will prove most beneficial:

Take a Stroll

You’re golfing will be much more physically beneficial if you choose to walk around the course rather than take a golf cart. Did you know that walking an 18-hole round of golf is roughly the same as a 5-mile walk? And that a 5-mile walk provides the recommended daily number of steps adults should take?[2] By walking around the course and leaving the cart behind, therefore, you will build strength, burn calories, and improve the condition of your heart and lungs. Any activity that leaves you slightly short of breath and works up a bit of a sweat is great for your cardiovascular system and will help to speed up your metabolism as well. If you choose to intensify your golf playing routine either because you play more regularly in a given week, or choose to indulge in a golf cruise[3] or other golf leisure vacation, then you will quickly notice the difference to your heart strength and your ability to breathe more clearly and easily too.

Build Some Essential Vitamin D

Vitamin D[4] is essential for ensuring your bones remain strong and healthy, and research has suggested it even has an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular problems, and diabetes. You can take vitamin D supplements and there are also some foods that contain high levels of vitamin D: but there is no better why to access vitamin D than by exposing your skin to the sun. One of the best ways to get a natural dose of vitamin D is to get outside and enjoy the sunshine; and there’s no better way to do that than by booking a tee time on your favorite golf course! Osteoporosis is a key worry for many of us, particularly as we age, but by strengthening our bones on the golf course, and by building our core muscle strength during our game play in conjunction with this, we can ensure that our bodies remain as strong as possible for as long as possible.

Boost Your Brain Power

As well as being good for your body, golfing regularly is also good for your brain. Studies have shown that new brain cells are created and more oxygen is pumped to the brain when you are active in some kind of aerobic exercise.[5] This means that golfing could help to ward off Alzheimer’s[6], increase your memory and improve your ability to be mentally alert and efficient at work too: a great reason to take the day off for a golf trip! There are so many other brain boosting benefits of golfing. The effort you put into planning and lining up the perfect shot will improve your concentration, your powers of reasoning and deduction and your coordination too. Finally, the golf course is a key place to practice your verbal and non-verbal social interaction skills. Waiting for your turn on certain hole or to approach your ball, setting the pace of the game and other small interactions will all trigger and stimulate your neuro pathways. There really is no other sport that has the same unique benefits.

Contributed by reader, Jenni Woan

[1] “Good for your health”, Why Get Into Golf, http://www.getintogolf.org/page.aspx?sitesectionid=68&sitesectiontitle=Healthy+golf

[2] “The many health benefits of golf”, JC Golf, http://www.jcgolf.com/2014/02/18/the-many-health-benefits-of-golf-infographic/

[3] “Golf Cruises, Iglu Cruise, http://www.iglucruise.com/golf-cruises

[4] “Vitamin D and Your Health”, Harvard Health Publications, http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/vitamin-d-and-your-health.htm

[5] “Top 10 Health Benefits of Golf”, Revive Life Clinic, http://revivelifeclinic.com/2011/03/16/top-10-health-benefits-of-golf/

[6] “Brain Health, Alzheimer’s Association of America, http://www.alzfdn.org/BrainHealth/prevention_findings_pr.html

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