Golf Your Way to Health and Longevity
By David Barnes
Out of the array of magnificent sports and physical activities one can do, why choose golf? A mainstream view on golf is that it is a long-lasting, boring ball pushing, mostly related to middle-aged men and rich gentlemen. However, the beauty of it all may surprise you. In fact, the simplicity of the game itself and the setting serenity are what can make this game an almost meditative, spiritual experience, if approached properly. Therefore, taking up golf can be life-changing, improving your life quality and, consequently, prolonging your life expectancy.
Physical Benefits of Playing Golf
Let’s face it, golf is not an intensive workout. You won’t burn loads of calories and lose weight in a month or two. But that’s what brings about other advantages. A moderate intensity aerobic physical activity like golf is highly beneficial for the cardiovascular and respiratory system, while still burning some calories. Think about it, a day on the golf court involves 4 to 5 hours of constant activity, walking, carrying clubs, playing and socializing.
A research done on the relation between golf and health benefits shows that excessive and constant walking in nature can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and the risk of colon cancer, hypertension, diabetes and more.
Muscle strengthening, improved balance and fall prevention are also attributed to regular golf playing and there may be a significant link to overall improved physical state and wellbeing.
The Majestic Outdoors and Self-Awareness
Probably the most satisfying and fulfilling thing about golf is its relation to endless, calming terrain of green grass, mild slopes, beautiful nature, sun and fresh air. The surrounding is calming and nurturing, good for your skin, lungs and mind.
Being outdoors, walking in nature and enjoying the silence, serenity and profound relaxation is the first step towards a peaceful mind and balanced out emotional state. It’s just you, the ball, the hole – and, of course - your thoughts, which can for some people be dreadful to deal with in the beginning. But the more you practice, the more you will experience the mental liberation and regain stability, experience the beauty of just spending time with yourself.
Mind Focus and Mental Stability
Golf is simple, but it’s not easy. The rules are straightforward, but the hard thing is paying attention to details – constant practice and discipline in mastering the technique and, most importantly, being always concentrated and focused.
Most sports involve reactive action, chasing the ball, tackling, anticipating, where your behaviour is more reactive than of thinking nature. In golf, on the other hand, there is no external influence, no stimulation of that kind. It’s just you and your decisions, which require some mental dedication. This kind of mental practice leads towards a healthy mind, better emotional control, and greater resistance to stress, anxiety and restlessness. This wonderful sport actually fosters greater self-management and psychological maturity, all essential for general psychological growth.
Although essentially an individual sport, golf actually promotes sociability. Spending a weekend with friends playing golf is an ideal time for bonding since the whole experience involves a lot of walking and plenty of time for chatting. What’s better than being outside with some friends or colleagues, spending quality time together while exercising at the same time? Positive interpersonal interaction and social participation are important factors for preventing mental illnesses and reducing stress and anxiety. Furthermore, engaging in interesting conversations and bonding increases self-worth, boosts your self-esteem and thus improves overall mind and soul wellness.
Another great convenience related to golf is that it is perfect for all ages. The lack of complex strategy and special physical preferences makes golf suitable for children, as well as the elderly. It is a healthy activity for everyone since it doesn’t require any special skills or athletic ability to call oneself a golfer. What’s important is the willingness for self-improvement and personal growth, since that’s what will keep you playing on a regular basis.
Making Best Out of Golf
Making golf truly a beneficial and health preserving experience means making the best out of it. The research is done on the topic unanimously explains that the physical benefits of golf will exist only if practised with as much physical activity as possible. This means avoiding the golf cart and walking instead, carrying your own clubs and generally golfing as often as you can.
Don’t forget to be informed about the best gear for golfers. Being comfortable and safe is just as much important as the game itself. There are various websites, like Wired Golfers and others, which are very informative and useful for finding appropriate golfing equipment depending on your playing proficiency and needs. Using a golf club which is too small, or wearing shoes that are uncomfortable can cause some health issues of their own in the future, like bad posture, muscle strain or pain, which can ruin the whole experience.
Keep in mind the dangers of the clubhouse. It’s so easy slipping into bad habits by eating hamburgers, drinking beer and opting for junk food, which is a path straight to weight gain and health issues.
So, how can you live longer by playing golf? The moderate physical activity applied for a longer period of time works wonders for longevity. The key is in consistency and balance, everything that golf truly embodies. Combining that with mental benefits, lowering of stress and anxiety, positive impact on self-confidence, socialization, as well as concentration and makes a perfect formula for a long, high quality and healthy life.
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