By Jordan Fuller
It’s no secret that the health benefits of playing golf are many. If you’re looking for a good excuse to spend more time on the course and less time behind your laptop, this is it!
While all sports get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, golf has some specific advantages that make it a really great option.
We know that it isn’t exactly a quick sport to play and isn’t necessarily easy to just add to your daily schedule. But even hitting a few golf balls on the driving range can give your mental and physical health a bit of a boost.
If you need convincing as to why getting out on the golf course is a great idea, here are some of the benefits you can expect to experience.
Physical Health Benefits
Naturally, there are some physical health benefits of playing golf. It involves your muscles and your cardiovascular system, and playing regularly will help both of these to improve.
Boosts Cardiovascular Health
While golf isn’t the most intense workout, it does involve quite a bit of exercise. Swinging your clubs, lifting and carrying your bag, and walking from hole to hole all get the heart pumping and blood flowing.
In turn, this improves your circulation, allowing oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to flow throughout the body. Your organs make full use of the nutrients, performing their functions more easily and faster.
Even better, when you do this kind of exercise regularly, the heart becomes stronger and improved cardiovascular health becomes the norm. If you want to boost your heart health, make sure to walk instead of taking a golf cart!
Moderate Muscular Workout
You may be surprised to learn just how many muscles are activated during the golf swing. The traps, the shoulders, the biceps, the pecs, the abdominal muscles, and the glutes all activate when you go through the full motion from start to finish.
While this isn’t quite enough to build muscle as you would in the gym, it’s a significant workout and contributes to strength and calories burned.
Assists With Weight Loss
Speaking of calories burned, according to a Harvard Health study, a 155-pound person can burn around 200 calories in just 30 minutes if they’re carrying their own clubs. That means if you’re playing a 4-hour round, you can realistically expect to burn 800 or more calories.
If you’re actively trying to shed some pounds, that’s a great way to burn a significant number of calories in a relatively short period of time. Just be careful not to eat it all back in the clubhouse after your round!
Mental Health Benefits
Physical health benefits are not the only kind of advantage you get from playing golf. There are also multiple mental health benefits of playing golf, which are often overlooked.
There are a number of reasons behind golf being excellent for mental health. For those who need company, it’s a great way to socialize. On the other hand, those who need alone time will find that it’s a lovely way to clear the mind.
It may not be golf itself that helps to alleviate the symptoms of depression. But it is a happy side effect. Research shows many different reasons for the reduction of depression, but many of them can be found in a round of golf.
For example, this study indicates that regular walking can lower depression. Considering how much walking you have to do on the golf course, it’s easy to see the overlap!
There’s also great research to show that exercising in nature can boost your mood and reduce stress, which in turn can lower depression symptoms.
Then there are the positive effects of socializing, as well as the well-documented positive effects of endorphins, which are released during exercise. Add them all together, and golf is a great recipe for reducing depression.
Improves Critical Thinking
One of the unique things about golf is that it requires strategic thinking skills. Sure, you can just hit the ball down the fairway with little thought behind it, but you’ll never improve your game or truly enjoy the intricacies of the game.
Regularly taking part in something that requires you to think out of the box helps to develop new neural pathways. Even playing on the driving range or using training aids can help you to foster creative thinking skills.
Exposure to Nature
Spending time in nature has been linked to multiple positive health benefits, including reduced levels of anxiety and depression, as well as improved moods.
While other sports are played in open fields, when you play a round of golf, you’re directly in contact with nature. Green grass, towering trees, sand bunkers, and water are all natural parts of a golf course, and it can often feel like you’re far away from the city when you’re playing a round.
Then there’s the dose of fresh air and vitamin D, which can have physical effects on the body as well as positive mental effects.
Exercise and exposure to nature have a knock-on effect on your sleep. You’re more likely to sleep deeply and wake up refreshed when you’re active and spend time outdoors.
This is significant as sleep is when the body heals and the brain consolidates memories and makes sense of the experiences of the day.
The health benefits of playing golf are well-documented. Next time you need to get away from the office or spend a day in the fresh air, getting out on the golf course could be the best thing for you.
Whether you’re looking for a way to lose some pounds, a new sport to learn, or an activity to do with your friends that will boost both your physical and mental health, golf comes highly recommended.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or experienced. Get out on the beautiful course, swing those clubs, walk the course, and take advantage of everything that comes with a round of golf!
About the Author
- Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer turned writer. Golf is his first love, and when he’s not on the course improving his own game or mentoring young golfers, he’s writing helpful articles for his website, Golf Influence.
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