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The on and off-course benefits of playing golf

Golf is played in over 200 countries at more than 40,000 courses around the world. While the consensus is that the sport may not be as demanding as others, it can offer many of the same health benefits as other sports. As a golfer, you're about to discover that the benefits of hitting the fairways extend far beyond the joy of a well-executed putt. 

Strap on your golf shoes, grab your clubs, and let’s explore how golf is not just a game; it's a holistic health journey.

Physical Effort

There’s no getting around it, Golf is essentially a walking sport, especially if you carry or push your clubs. A Harvard study found that golfers burn more than double the calories of walkers while they’re playing. The act of strolling through the greens, swinging your clubs, and soaking up the fresh air provides a cardiovascular workout that’s gentle on the joints but effective for the heart. 

Therapeutic value 

Some people call it stress relief, some people call it reduction but either way, the amount of mental focus combined with physical activity is a perfect combination to help provide a mental reset. The best way to score better is to forget about the last shot and focus on the next one.

In the same vein, being mindful of yourself and your own tendencies will help you build solutions when you find that a certain part of your game might be struggling. Including all of that, there have been studies showing that outdoor exercise may be more effective at reducing stress than indoors.

Vitamin D

Being outside in the sunshine, yup there are health benefits to just being outside. Your body naturally produces vitamin D as a reaction when exposed to sunshine. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D has anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties as well as playing a vital role in bone health. 

So even if you take a cart for the round or walk for the round, you’re still getting the vitamin D benefits.

Mentally Engaging

Golf is one of the most mentally challenging sports. It demands focus, concentration, and strategy to succeed over the course of 18 holes. The process of planning, choosing, and executing your shots also requires physical and mental coordination in order to play well. 

Throughout Life

Even if you’re young, old, new to the game or have been playing since you were a child, swinging a club to play an entire round can still provide a low-impact exercise. One study in 2009 observed that golfers had an increased life expectancy of about 5 years. So if you’re swinging the sticks, you’re more likely to keep swinging the sticks for longer.

🔍 FAQ: Your Path to Informed Golfing

How does golf improve cardiovascular health?
Golf's moderate intensity and continuous movement contribute to improved blood circulation, promoting cardiovascular health. 
The combination of walking, swinging, and overall physical activity enhances heart function. 

Can golf help in stress reduction?
Absolutely! Studies have shown that exercise outdoors can provide more stress relief than indoors. This means that the serene environment of the golf course, coupled with the focused yet enjoyable nature of the game, acts as a natural stress reliever. The mental engagement and outdoor setting create a perfect recipe for relaxation.

What muscle groups does golf target?
Golf engages various muscle groups, including those in the arms, legs, back, and core. The repeated motion of swinging and walking the course ensures a full-body workout, promoting strength and flexibility.

Are there mental health benefits to playing golf?
Indeed, golf offers significant mental health benefits. The strategic thinking, focus, and concentration required during a round contribute to cognitive well-being. It's a mindful journey that revitalizes the mind.

Some benefits are bigger than golf

While we’re all of the opinion that we should play more golf. We can remember that there are some benefits to playing the game that help us be healthier versions of ourselves. As you embark on your golfing journey, remember that each swing is a step toward a healthier, happier you.  The cardiovascular benefits, stress reduction, targeted muscle engagement, and mental clarity make golf not just a game but a prescription for a fulfilling life. 

Join us on the course, and let health and happiness join 18Birdies as your caddies.

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