Golf is a sport that enables players to experience tremendous health benefits. Contrary to the popular belief of non-golfers, it isn’t just a game of standing around and minimal movement. Sure, golf may not be a sport that features sprinting, jumping, and back and forth fast-paced action; but it still works the body and mind.
There are a number of great health benefits of golf. Players can receive mental and physical health benefits from golf that equal or even trump other activities. So, what health benefits can you expect when playing a round of golf this weekend?
Weight Loss / Calorie Burn
Players who walk a full 18 round game of golf can cover around four miles if they walk in a straight line. However, golfers don’t walk point to point when playing. They must cover a lot of ground to follow the ball. A 2018 study published in Golf Monthly found that golfers covered over six miles during an 18-hole game. A golf course isn’t flat and players can burn more calories walking the changing terrain. According to Golf Digest, the average golfer burns around 1,400 calories walking an 18-hole course.
Walking cannot only burn calories and enables weight loss, but it improves heart health. Add in the physical aspects of the game – bending and swinging – and there are more calorie burning movements golfers do during a round. Carrying your bag while playing contributes to the calorie burn as well.
If regular golf play is combined with a healthy lifestyle, you can greatly improve your physical well-being while reducing possible health problems in the future. Most men and women with golf careers are in generally good shape.
Mental Stimulation / Mental Health
Mental health has become a hot topic in recent years. More people have become aware of the importance of mental health and the impact it has on their lives. Although golf is easy to learn, but difficult to master, players can receive a number of mental health benefits due to brain stimulation. Simply being physically active has a huge effect on your mindset. In addition, having something you must concentrate on wholly improves focus and takes the mind off of negative thoughts.
How can golf improve your mental health? In 2017, reports showed military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were using golf as a form of therapy. A number of programs have been set up around the United States to help veterans cope with PTSD. The PGA’s Helping Our Patriots Everywhere (HOPE) program was one of the groups set up to improve the lives of those who protect that of Americans everywhere.
It isn’t just playing the game that can reduce stress and anxiety. Simply walking across a beautiful golf course can alleviate negative thoughts and feelings.
Low Risk of Injury
Golf is a game of minimal contact, but it is also a game in which players are not putting their bodies under mass amounts of stress like in squash, racquet ball, tennis, or basketball. Due to the low risk of injury provided by golf, players of all ages can play the game.
Of course, golfers can sustain injuries. Pulled muscles from swinging, sprained ankles from taking a wrong step, and sore body parts do occur not matter how healthy you are. But the risk of a major injury putting you on the sidelines, or in the hospital, are low.
A lot of golfers enjoy playing the game alone. Yet, others seek out friendly competition when hitting the links. By playing with or against someone during a round of golf, you give yourself the chance to interact socially.
Social interaction has a huge impact on mental well-being. Individuals, including seniors, may lose touch with others as they grow older. Golf gives them the chance to reconnect and to spend one day a week enjoying the great outdoors and each other’s company. Due to golf’s low intensity, it is easy for players to converse as they play. The downtime provided during a round of golf is one reason so many business deals are struck on the golf course.
Golf offers players an assortment of health benefits that other sports lack. It is a game that is far more than hitting a small white ball into a tiny cup. Golf provides mental and physical health benefits that can change a person’s life.