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Keeping Physically Active Through Golf

Played by people of all ages, golf provides a stimulating mental challenge combined with a healthy walk. Played as a team or individually, golf can be played casually as well as competitively and there are countless resources available to help you learn to play the game.

Walking a round of golf can amount to between five and seven kilometers of walking, which is good for your health and heart. With an average of three to five rounds per week, a player can get an optimal amount of endurance for your heart. Pulling or carrying clubs can help to burn even more calories.

Golfing regularly, even at least once per month, was found to lower the risk of death among older adults. In a study conducted by the National Centre for Social Research. Health survey for England titled, “The relationships between golf and health: a scoping review,” golfing was further found to provide extensive health benefits.

The study concluded that “practitioners and policymakers can be encouraged to support more people to play golf, due to associated improved physical health and mental well-being, and a potential contribution to increased life expectancy. Injuries and illnesses associated with golf have been identified, and risk reduction strategies are warranted. Further research priorities include systematic reviews to further explore the cause and effect nature of the relationships described. Research characterizing golf's contribution to muscular strengthening, balance and falls prevention as well as further assessing the associations and effects between golf and mental health are also indicated.”

Playing golf regularly can help to keep you fit, improve muscle tone and endurance, along with losing weight and body fat. Furthermore, due to its social nature and controlled pace, golf can often help people to maintain motivation, and the ability to continue playing the sport even after serious medical events such as heart attack or stroke.

Golf stretches - see the guide here - help golfers warm up before the game commences and to stay even healthier on the course.

Researchers analyzed data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a population-based observational study of risk factors that contribute to stroke and heart disease in adults 65 and older. The study evaluated participants from 1989 through 1999 with extensive annual clinical exams and clinic visits every six months over the 10-year period. Upon the conclusion of the clinic visits, patients were contacted by phone to determine any occurrences of stroke or heart attack events. Patients were considered regular golfers if they played golf at least once a month.

Keeping physically active

“While walking and low-intensity jogging may be comparable exercise, they lack the competitive excitement of golf," Adnan Qureshi, M.D said. "Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health. Another positive is that older adults can continue to play golf, unlike other more strenuous sports such as boxing. Additional positive aspects are stress relief and relaxation, which golf appears better suited for than other sports."

Of course, with today’s Covid-19 crisis and the quarantines and shelters-in-place in effect, many golfers have taken to spending their days wearing down the turf on their indoor putting greens, swinging clubs wherever they have room, or knocking Wiffle balls around the yard. While these activities can do something to curb the urge to play, the physical benefits won’t be able to be realized until we can all take to the course again, so hang in there.

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