Golf is not only great fun, with a competitive element thrown in for good measure, but a recent study has found that playing just one round of golf per month can almost half the risk of an early death for those in their seventies.
Thanks to the controlled pace and low impact nature of the game, golf can be enjoyed by seniors as well as people who are recovering from injury. The game offers a wide range of physical benefits, such as improving strength, flexibility and endurance, as well as having a positive impact on your mental well-being by helping to reduce stress. It’s no wonder, the game can add years to your life. So, dust off your clubs and get out in the fresh air to start reaping the benefits of this sport.
The walking involved in a round of golf can provide a great cardio workout, just remember to leave the golf buggy at the clubhouse. A full 18-hole round of golf involves walking around 5 miles of varying gradients which is guaranteed to get the heart pumping. A round will also meet your recommended target of 10k steps a day, as well as burning a hefty amount of calories, in fact the average player will burn an impressive 1,400 calories per game.
- Strength training
The swing of the club in itself provides a full body work out, with each full swing exercising your arms, legs, back and abdomen, strengthening muscles which wouldn’t ordinarily use in day-to-day activities. Each game of golf involves numerous repetitions over the course of a round - approximately 30+ times for accomplished players and many more for novice golfers. As each swing works your core muscles, this is turn can have a positive impact on your posture, which can help to prevent aches and pains caused by back and neck injuries.
Team this, with the lifting and carrying of your golf bag, over long distances can work wonders for your strength and endurance. Doing this a couple of times a week will really build and strengthen your upper body.
- Low impact
Unlike many other strenuous forms of exercise, golf is a great sport for all ages and genders to enjoy, young and old. The ‘low impact’ nature of the game means that joints are not subject to the stresses and strains of more energetic activities like tennis and running.
The golf range is a great place to ease new players in to the sport, improving fitness levels slowly and allowing your body to adjust to the new demands of the game before heading out on the golf course for a round.
- Mood booster
Beyond the numerous physical health benefits, golf is also proven to have a positive impact on mental well-being, something which shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to your overall health. Getting out for a walk in the fresh air does wonders for endorphin and serotonin levels, leading to an improved mood and reduced levels of stress and anxiety, which in turn can reduce blood pressure. A few hours out in the sunshine can also boost vitamin D levels – the sunshine vitamin proven to fight depression, as well as boost brain function and reduce the risk of some forms of cancer. Coupled with an escape from the hassles of day-to-day life, the game can provide a great opportunity for relaxation.
- Alertness and concentration
Playing golf can also be a work out for the brain as much as the body. Remembering numbers and techniques, calculating scores and estimating distances and gradients are all excellent ways to keep your mind active. A high level of concentration is also required when taking shots. Research by England Golf found that playing golf has been linked to increased brain function, improved memory, as well as reducing the risk of developing dementia.
- Social benefits
Whether you choose to play golf with colleagues, friends or family, there is no denying that golf provides a great opportunity for social interaction. A golf club can also be a great place to make new friends and enjoy the game with other like minded people. In a world dominated by email and mobile phones some good old face-to-face interaction over a game of golf can really boost your endorphins and get the feel-good chemicals flowing.
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