Doctor’s Orders: Play Golf!

Golf has called by some an “old man’s sport,” but increasingly people of all ages should be exploring this great game much as we do “eating an apple a day to keep the doctor away.”  Currently as Americans are becoming more fit with their thumbs than their legs or heart, the many benefits of golf include better health – so say our Doctors.

Okay, maybe golfers don’t run, throw or catch, but playing a round of golf can be very good exercise.

One of the primary benefits of golf is the fact that if you forego the golf cart to travel from hole to hole, you’re actually walking several miles around the course.  Playing 18 holes of golf can involve traversing 3 to 5 miles.  And as any avid golfer knows, most courses have a varied topography, meaning you could be climbing uphill and downhill, working several muscles in the process.

Walking is a low-impact cardiovascular activity that gets the heart pumping.  Many doctors advise walking over jogging because it isn’t jarring on the knees and feet.  Walking is often an important part of a workout routine and can promote weight loss and a healthier heart.  For golfers who do not have a caddy, carrying a bag full of clubs adds some resistance while walking.

Research has indicated that playing a round of golf has the same health benefits of a full 45-minute fitness class.  It will burn fat and also improve your good cholesterol levels.  Some estimates suggest that playing a round of golf and carrying your clubs can burn over 400 calories, while walking with a pull cart can burn over 300 calories.

Swinging clubs and putting are also physical workouts.  Repetition can help tone muscles in the arms, back and shoulders.  It may also improve flexibility and range of motion.  Golf also helps to strengthen hand-eye coordination and balance.  It can be a great way for older players to remain spry and active in a low-impact way.

Apart from the apparent physical benefits, playing golf also features mental health benefits as well.  Simply being outdoors on a beautiful day can boost a person’s spirits.  Provided you’re not caught up with the competition aspect and gunning to win, golf can also be a relaxing endeavor that helps stress melt away.  There’s also the camaraderie of golf: spending time with friends and other players and engaging in conversation.

So if you need any other excuse to hit the links, the health benefits of golf are something that can’t be refuted.  “Play Golf!”

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