It isn’t difficult to understand why. Golf is a sport which requires you to spend hours at a time on your feet in the open air, undertaking a series of physical movements. While a very small minority of players might opt for golf carts, most golfers will happily walk from hole to hole, clocking up several miles as they do. What’s more, there’s all that mental stimulation to take on board; the calculations of distance, of swing, of choosing the right club for the right moment, as well as the mathematics of subtracting your number of swings from the course par. Indeed, there’s no wonder golfers tend to be spritely individuals, with minds that stay sharp and alert even into and through their autumn years!
We’re more than aware that there is no shortage of claims and statements regarding the benefits of golfing, and they range from tested science to anecdotal reports from fans of the sport. Let’s take a closer look at just how good golf can be for the body and mind, and clear up some questions once and for all.
A Healthy Heart
There are plenty of reasons why playing golf regularly leads to great heart health. Walking for miles in the fresh air, carrying your golf bag and clubs from hole to hole, working on your swing… all of this and more is fantastic for getting that blood pumping around your body, and that’s something which brings about a whole host of benefits. Your risk of serious issues like heart disease or strokes becomes reduced by a considerable amount, and it also cuts cholesterol and reduces blood pressure too. Combined with a healthy diet and otherwise active lifestyle, playing regular rounds of golf can make a significant difference to your heart health, which leads to a longer, happier, and overall more fulfilling life.
… And a Healthy Mind
Not only does the physical aspect of golfing help with your brain (due to increased blood flow and a heightened heart rate), the mental aspect is also a great workout for your grey matter, too. Golf involves outdoor walking along regular routes, which stimulates the parts of your brain associated with memory retention – something which has been proven to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease – and the calculations required for a top-notch handicap also keep you mentally alert for longer.
Lose Some Extra Pounds
According to contemporary health professionals and dieticians, the ideal number of steps each and every one of us should be taking per day is around 10,000. Guess what? An average 18 hole course of golf will exceed that comfortably. What’s more, male golfers will burn 2,500 calories in the time it takes to play a full round (and that’s the same amount of calories most of us consume on an average day), and women will burn somewhere in the region of 1,500.
Stress is a massive contributor to poor physical and mental health, and it comes as no surprise that golfing is a fantastic way to avoid stress being an issue in your life. Why? Quite simply because spending time outdoors in the open air, enjoying a game with your friends, and setting yourself mental challenges all allow our brain to release endorphins that keep us happy and stress-free.
A Better Night’s Sleep
After walking the course and improving your swing for several hours (plus after having benefited from all that fresh air), it’s no surprise that playing golf leads to a highly satisfying night of sleep. There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful about that; good sleep allows our body to heal itself, our minds to rest, and leaves us feeling refreshed and renewed.
Exercise with Low Risk of Injury
There are plenty of reasons why older people are drawn to golf, but one of the key ones is that this game offers hours of physical and mental stimulation with low risk of injury. Unlike most sports, it’s pretty difficult to get hurt playing golf (so long as you avoid any stray balls…), meaning you can burn those calories in safety.
A Longer Life
Incredibly, studies carried out by Swedish scientists discovered that golf really does have a highly positive effect on the body, and leads to a longer life for those who play regularly. How much longer? Well, one study claimed that golfers have a life expectancy that’s a massive five years longer than their contemporaries who don’t play… which is compelling evidence indeed.
As we’ve seen, the health benefits that golf can bring are many and highly convincing for a number of reasons. No matter what age you may be, it’s clear that regular games of golf have the potential to improve your body and mind, and for older individuals, the improvements brought about by regular day out on the course can be dramatic!