Ok, before you go tell your spouse “I am going to go play 18 holes so I can live longer” we may want to put this in perspective. A Swedish study by the Karolinska Institute found that golfers have 40% lower death rate which corresponds to a 5-year increase in life expectancy. So what are some of the HEALTH BENEFITS associated with playing golf? There is a lot of evidence that suggest that playing golf offers a lot more benefits than most of us believe.
Heart Health… Any form of physical exercise gets the heart pumping and walking is highly recommended. Of course it would be best to walk the course instead of riding in a cart but even while riding golf still requires a lot of walking. Depending on the course and other conditions (distances from paths, cart path only, looking for balls, etc.) most people walk approximately miles 2 miles (when using a cart) and burn about 1,300 calories. Swinging the golf club also helps with fitness and flexibility. Many heart disease patients use golf as part of their therapy.
Reducing Stress… This can be comical and reminds me of a statement a friend of friend told me. It seemed his friend gave up golf and his excuse was the following, “4 hours worth of fun isn’t worth 4 weeks of bitching from the spouse”. So we acknowledge that golf under certain situations may or may not be stress reducing. However, golf is proven a stress reliever since it is played in an open area. The happy feeling during playing and the fresh air makes golfers feel peace and comfort thus reducing stress.
Relaxes the mind… Many golfers use golf as an escape. It’s hard to think of other things when you are on the tee with others watching (sometimes relying on your good shot) and trying to make a good shot. Our mind will automatically go to the ball.
Improved sleep… Regular exercise will help you sleep faster and sleep longer. Sleep helps your muscles rest and repair. Many times after 18 holes of golf I can’t make it to my normal bedtime (when a good sofa comes in handy).
Socializing and playing as you age… Good conversation with plenty of laughs can take place between shots. Golf is typically a game with good sportsmanship and even though can be competitive it tends to be friendly competition. You can learn so much about a person on the golf course that no wonder businessmen and women use golf as a way to build partnerships. Aging? What other sports allows a goal of scoring your age? Bob Hope once said…”instead of shooting his age he shoots his weight”. Ha! Yes, seniors of all levels continue to play making golf the number one played sport worldwide.
These are just a few of the benefits of playing golf. There are the cons.. like time and expense but we will concentrate in the future on many more of the benefits.