Posted on Sep 14, 2020, 2 p.m.
Golf is known to be one of the more relaxed sports. Hit a little ball across a wide fairway, and then meander down to where it fell and do it again, for 18 holes.
It may sound extremely chilled, but are you aware that playing a round of golf has some amazing health benefits? Here’s how you can expect your health to improve if you play a round of golf regularly.
#1 - Improved Heart Health
All forms of physical exercise will get your heart rate up and blood flowing, and it’s no different when playing golf.
Recent research by The American Heart Association (1) shows that playing golf regularly helps lower the risk of death by improving heart health. A round of golf can lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol. Walking from hole to hole gets your heart rate up, as does every swing of the club.
#2 - Reduced Stress
The scenery of a golf course, being close to nature, and interacting with fellow golfers helps to reduce stress.
While you’re walking and talking between holes, your body is releasing endorphins, which help enhance our moods and reduce stress (2).
A round of golf will also help to reduce the effects of stress, which triggers the fight-or-flight response in the body, increasing cortisol levels. If you're under constant stress, this can lead to an increase in blood pressure and can cause changes in the brain that contribute to anxiety (3).
Playing a round of golf a week can literally help to keep the doctor away!
#3 - Weight Loss
If you want to get a great workout, ditch the golf cart and walk the course.
Navigating the undulating hills and varying terrains, while having to cover 7000 yards carrying your golf bag, will not only burn calories, but it will also help you to build some muscle.
On the forward swing, you're working out your upper chest muscles, the upper serratus, and the upper and lower gluteus maximus (4). This means that every swing is helping to build muscle.
#4 - Enhanced Sleep
Being outdoors in the fresh air, walking the course, and cardiovascular exercise are all factors that will contribute to getting a good night’s rest.
Other factors to consider are endorphins and serotonin levels produced in the body while you're playing your round of golf.
High serotonin levels are vital to the quality of sleep that you’ll get, and help you to achieve deep sleep (6). Your body undergoes restorative and regenerative processes when you're in deep sleep, and it’s important for you to wake up feeling refreshed (7).
#5 - Mental Stimulation
Each golf round will stimulate the brain, as you have to focus, analyze, and concentrate on each shot that you make.
Also, consider the mental process involved in keeping score, devising play strategy on each hole, and maintaining your competitive edge and humor.
All of these subtle mental activities will activate different regions of the brain. This mental workout keeps you sharp not only on the course but in the office and in your hobbies, while possibly helping reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s (8).
The evidence is clear - playing golf has some great benefits to your health. As if you needed another reason to play a round!
If you’re already a golfer, you can enjoy reaping these benefits as long as your sport is part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking for a way to add more movement to your life and improve your physical and mental health, why not look into playing golf as a way to do that?
Jordan Fuller has been golfing for decades, and has had personal experience of how the sport improves health, both physical and mental. Jordan shares his love for all things golf-related things at Golf Influence.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.
1. Association, A. H. (2020, February 20). Golfing regularly could be a hole-in-one for older adults’ health. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200212084405.htm#:~:text=Regularly%20golfing%20%2D%2D%20at%20least
2. DeNoon, D. J. (2008, May 30). Exercise and Depression. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression
3. Harvard Health Publishing. (2018, May 1). Understanding the stress response - Harvard Health. Harvard Health; Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
4. Magee, E. (2007, May 11). 8 Ways to Burn Calories and Fight Fat. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/8-ways-to-burn-calories-and-fight-fat#1
5. McHardy, A. (2005). Muscle activity during the golf swing * Commentary. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(11), 799–804. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2005.020271
6. Melinda. (2019, March 28). HelpGuide.org. HelpGuide.Org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/preventing-alzheimers-disease.htm
7. Research, C. I. of. (2019). Settling the debate on serotonin’s role in sleep: The brain chemical is necessary to get enough sleep. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190624173822.htm
8. Wheatherspoon Ph.D., R.N., CRNA, D. (2019, June 3). Deep sleep: Stages and how much you need. Www.Medicalnewstoday.Com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325363