As we start to see social distancing regulations lift, some people might be looking for new and alternative ways to exercise and keep fit, especially if it involves being outside. Well look no further than the great game of golf!
1Life not only manages leisure, sport, and health centres but also a range of golf courses and driving ranges too. Golf is a great form of physical activity and a great excuse to get outside and get active.
For those who have typically avoided golf, we’ve got news for you. Golf is not only great fun, but research has also shown that it offers a wide range of benefits physically, such as improving strength, flexibility, and endurance, as well as having a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. A game of golf can help players exceed the recommended government guidelines for physical activity and one study has shown players can burn anywhere between 500 and 1500 calories over 18 holes.
However, for some, golf can seem complicated; especially those who are brand new to the sport. First there’s the rules – so many and there are also different kinds of clubs and let’s not get started on the lingo; eagles, birdies, bogeys, bump-and-runs, FOURRRRRR!
Fear not! If you’re considering starting golf as a novice or someone who is a little rusty here’s some practical advice which we hope will help you out before you hit the greens and fairways of your local courses.
Your local driving range is the perfect place to start your golfing journey. They can help you gain confidence and practice the art of your tee-shot (among others). There are usually lots of other golf enthusiasts and pros around so should you need any advice this could be a great place to start.
The driving range will also help you to improve your fitness levels and allow your body to adjust to the new demands of the game before heading out on the golf course.
For those golfers who have developed a handicap and are back into the swing of the game, you’ll also be pleased to read about the fabulous health benefits associated with playing golf.
To really reap the health rewards of golf you’ll need 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 great cardio-exercise.
As well as the walking associated with a round of golf, the swing itself provides a full body work out. Each full swing exercises your arms, legs, back and abdomen, strengthening muscles which wouldn’t ordinarily be used in day-to-day activities, as well as improving your balance and flexibility. Each game 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 the distance of the course and you will complete quite a good workout.
Unlike many more strenuous forms of exercise, golf is great for all ages. The ‘low impact’ nature of the game means that joints are not subject to the stresses and strains of more energetic activities such as tennis and running.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Beyond the numerous physical health benefits, golf is also proven to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, 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 is a workout 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.
Getting started in golf can be straightforward and the sport can be accessible to all. 1Life golf clubs suit all budgets and offer ‘pay as you play’ options, there’s never been a better time to take up the game – you could well be the next Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods!
1Life has a range of golf courses within its portfolio.