Golf is a relatively easy game to understand. You swing a club with the goal of shooting a small white ball into a series of holes. It may not look like a sport with a lot of health benefits, but it does. What do people get out of it apart from having a good time? Read on.
1. Good for the heart
Golf–with all the walking, carrying, and swinging involved–puts your heart to the work. The increased blood flow in your system, as a result, helps lower the risk for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and diabetes and reduces “bad” cholesterol levels in the body. In a study, the Norwegian Golf Federation found that a golfer will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute in an 18-hole round.
2. Mental stimulation
A rush of blood flows to your brain every time your heart rate increases, causing stimulation in nerve cell connections. This improves brain functioning as a whole and helps fight against mental illnesses like dementia. Golf also requires mental alertness. The player has to tally scores, formulate strategy, and manage hand-eye coordination.
3. Weight loss
A lot of walking is involved to cover acres of a golf course. When you skip the golf cart and walk the entire distance of an average course, you will find that you have covered around five to seven kilometers. Opting out of a caddy also means you will burn even more calories. One caveat though is that most clubs insist that you make use of the golf cart and caddy service. Not to worry, a single game will still give you a range of athletic moves to choose from.
4. Strengthened bladder
This one is a bit odd and surprising but still worth noting. When you are in the middle of the golf course, going to the comfort room is an inconvenience so you decide to hold your urge to pee. Just like any muscle in the body, the bladder gets stronger every time it is used.
5. Reduced stress
Golf is not known as a leisure sport for anything. The pleasure that comes in playing outdoors, socializing with like-minded individuals, and crafting strategies to one-up your opponent is closely linked to the game. While playing, your body releases a chemical called endorphins which are your brain’s natural mood enhancers making you happier and feeling relaxed.
6. Improved vision
Surveying the course for the hole or finding where the ball has landed is an integral part of playing golf. Using your eyes frequently in scanning vast areas and long distances are in a way an exercise for your eyes and greatly improves your coordination. This is perfect for preventing vision impairment as you age.
7. Better sleep
Any kind of exercise generally contributes to better sleep at night and golf is no exception. Because of the amount of energy that you have expended in the golf course, you are most likely to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper for a longer period of time. Sleep is important for the body to regain its strength, and regenerate cells and tissues.
8. Low injury
You are less likely to get injured in golf. Compared to other sports, there are far fewer risks involved because golf is low intensity and non-contact activity. While much of the sport involves accuracy, hand-eye coordination, and strategy, it still provides enough physical activity–like walking, swinging and pivoting–to engage core muscles in the body.
9. Longer life
Swedish professor Anders Ahlbom of the Karolinska Institute conducted a study about the life expectancy of golf players. Together with his colleagues, they found out that golfers have a 40% lower death rate compared to the rest of the population who do not play golf. That is an increase of five years to the average Swede’s life.
10. Outdoor exposure
Given the nature of the sport, golf is generally played outdoors in acres of uninterrupted landscape. Just outside already has its own health benefits. Studies have consistently shown that exposure to green and open spaces relieves stress and help in alleviating anxiety. Vitamin D from soaking in sunlight promotes bone growth and reduces the risk of cancer.