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The Health Benefits Of Playing Golf

Fergus Bisset, 28th February 2019

health benefits of golf

There are several health benefits of playing golf, from both a physical and mental perspective. People of all ages enjoy better all-round health from playing the sport, according to recent research from The University Of Edinburgh which reviewed 5,000 studies in golf.

This research found that golfers typically burn a minimum of 500 calories per round and that those walking the course will cover from four to eight miles. It also demonstrated that golfers are generally happier than non-golfers. We look at some of the key health benefits of playing golf in more detail.

Cardiovascular health

Walking, swinging, carrying your clubs – all of these actions constitute physical exercise that increase your heart rate and improve blood flow. This in turn reduces the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

If the exercise is combined with healthy diet and lifestyle, it can help reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The Norwegian Golf Federation (NGF) found that during an 18-hole round, a player will have an average heart rate of 100 beats per minute, over a two to five-hour period.

Brain health

Blood flows more quickly to the brain as a result of an increase in heart rate. This improves nerve cell connections and potentially helps to stave off mental illnesses like Alzheimers or dementia.

Several studies have found that physical activity in early, mid and late life is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia. The hand-eye coordination required to play golf also helps keeps the brain active.

Mental health

The achievements and accomplishments attained through golf can help boost self-esteem and general mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, as a highly social game, golf fosters relationships and increases the happiness of regular participants.

The Mental Health Foundation conducted a recent study to assess the impact of physical activity on mood. Researchers found that the participants felt more content, more awake and calmer after being physically active.

This research shows that, although golf might be frustrating at times, generally it will make you happier.

Lower stress

Being out in the open air, engaged in an enjoyable activity, releases endorphins – natural mood-enhancing hormones that help you relax and so reduce stress.

Research on employed adults has found that highly active individuals tend to have lower stress rates compared to individuals who are less active.

Improved sleep

The physical exertions involved in a round of golf will inevitably help you to sleep more easily. During sleep, your muscles rest and repair themselves.

What’s more, moderate aerobic exercise – for example, walking around a golf course – significantly improves the sleep of those who suffer with insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Weight loss

Walking four to eight miles, particularly if you’re carrying your bag, will burn calories.

As long as you don’t head straight into the clubhouse and replace these calories with three pints of lager and two bacon rolls, you should lose weight!

As a rule of thumb, a 12-and-a-half stone golfer can expect to burn more than 900 calories by walking eight miles – not bad for a round of golf!

Improved vision

Focusing on distant targets, trying to pick out your ball against a variety of backgrounds and continually shifting focus between ball and target exercises the eye and could strengthen vision. Better vision could also improve your game – you get where we’re going with this.

In 1996, Nick Faldo saw a sports vision specialist who gave him a series of visual exercises to help him improve his putting alignment and distance control. Later that year, he won a third Masters. We rest our case.

Low risk sport

Many sports are high impact and the risk of injury is significant. In golf the risk of injury is low, but the physical activity is still sufficient to engage the muscles.

That’s not to say that injuries don’t crop up now and again – but these injuries are often relatively minor and can be overcome by carrying out a few simple warm-up exercises.

Stronger bones

The NHS recommends brisk walking as a method for those over the age of 35 to reduce the rate of natural bone loss.

Any form of regular exercise, particularly low impact exercise in the form of a round of a golf, will help strengthen bones and prevent fractures.

For all the health benefits of playing golf, it’s a sport that carries an element of risk. Your equipment could be lost, stolen or damaged, or you could accidentally damage someone else’s property during a round.

That’s why you need specialist golf insurance to protect yourself against a number of unexpected incidents that come with being a golfer. Find out how our golf insurance can protect you, or get an instant online quote with us today!

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