Golf is known as the gentleman’s (and gentlewoman’s!) game. It’s classy, elegant, and played at a relaxed pace. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer the same health benefits as other, more vigorous sports!
If you’re a golfer, here are 10 health benefits of playing golf that you can expect to see at work in your own life. If you’re looking for a sport to begin that will boost your health in numerous ways, don’t neglect golf as an option!
1. Mental Health Benefits of Playing Golf
We’ve started with mental health benefits because it’s important to know that golf—like any sport—isn’t just about physical fitness! Each of these mental benefits of playing golf has the added bonus of contributing to lower anxiety and a reduced risk of depression as well.
- Improved Concentration
You’ll never get a good golf score if you can’t concentrate for long periods of time. Playing the sport boosts your concentration without you even realizing it—you need to stay focused in order to keep up with the score and get closer to the hole.
- Increased Mental Clarity
The more you work on your concentration and focus, the better your mental clarity will be. The mind is like any muscle—the more you use it, the better it becomes!
- Improved Problem Solving
You have to constantly problem-solve on the golf course. How to get around hazards, how you’re going to play this hole, how many spins you should put on this shot, judging the distance to the hole… And so on.
The thing with problem-solving is that the more you get to do it, the better you get at it. So the next time you need an excuse to be on the golf course, remember that you’re learning better problem-solving skills!
- Stress Relief
Between getting vitamin D, fresh air, a ton of steps, and getting the blood pumping, it’s easy to see how this brings relief from whatever’s stressing you at the time. Scientific studies prove again and again that exercise and nature are amazing remedies for stress.
- Increased Self-Confidence
Getting fitter and healthier also naturally increases self-confidence. Not to mention how you feel when you notice your golf game improving. As a fairly individual game, it’s easy to improve your confidence when you see things improving and you’re only competing against yourself!
2. Physical Benefits of Playing Golf
You should also notice some positive physical changes when you start playing golf regularly. They may be subtle, but they’re definitely there!
- Improved Balance
The golf swing requires good balance. If you’re falling over, your shots are going to go haywire. So balance is an important part of being a good golfer. As you improve your golf swing, you’ll notice your balance improving too.
- Increased Flexibility
Along with better balance, the golf swing promotes improved flexibility. Too much leg movement, and you’ll throw yourself off. Too little upper body movement, and you’ll be less powerful. The more you swing, the more flexible you become!
- Improved Posture
It’s impossible to do a proper golf swing with poor posture. If you want to be good, you need to get your form right—and the first thing that includes is posture. You can slouch or hunch—standing straight, and tall is the only way to go.
- Strengthened Muscles
You’re not going to look like you’re spending an hour in the gym each day, but the golf swing does build muscle, particularly in your chest, biceps, and triceps. With the amount of walking you do, your leg muscles and glutes also get strengthened, so opt for walking when you can!
- Increased Range of Motion
The more flexible you get, the better your range of motion. This is particularly helpful for those who are aging—no such thing as stiff, immobile joints when you play golf!
- Improved Stamina and Endurance
It takes 3 to 4 hours on average to play a round of golf. If you’re on a cart, you’ll get less benefit, but if you walk, your stamina and endurance get a definite boost. This carries over well into other areas of life.
3. Heart Health of Playing Golf
Heart health may fall under physical health, but it’s important enough to be mentioned on its own! You may be surprised to find that playing golf is extremely heart-friendly… If you walk the course rather than taking a golf cart.
- Lowers Blood Pressure
Evidence shows that walking has significant positive effects on your blood pressure. Study shows that walking lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, keeping your heart and arteries far healthier. Paired with the positive stress reduction effects of being in nature, this means golf is excellent for those with high BP.
- Lowers Cholesterol
Science shows that anaerobic exercise—like golf—can have a positive effect on cholesterol. If your cholesterol is a touch high, get into the habit of playing golf—you may see it drop noticeably!
- Improves Circulation
Any exercise gets the heart rate up, the blood pumping faster, and moves blood to the various limbs and organs. This increased circulation is excellent for the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to all the parts that need it.
4. Weight Management
Need to drop a few pounds? Golf is an excellent way to do it. Although you don’t burn that many calories relative to other, higher-intensity sports, in an 18-hole round of golf you can walk 10,000+ steps and burn over 1,000 calories. That’s if you walk and carry your bag!
For those who want to lose weight or maintain their current weight, this is an excellent way to do so. Make sure you don’t eat all those calories back in junk as you move through your round, and you should notice the pounds dropping over time.
5. Improved Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination may not seem like something important, but we use it every day. Coordination comes into play in many ways, be it driving, typing, reaching for your coffee cup, and more. Golf helps you improve that hand-eye coordination as you really need to have good coordination to hit that tiny ball with a tiny club head!
6. Increased Energy
It sounds counterintuitive, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have. Even playing one round of golf a week and hitting the driving range a few times outside of that can have a positive effect.
7. Doesn’t Aggravate Arthritis
One of the best things about the game of golf is that it’s low-impact and doesn’t aggravate arthritis. It’s one of the best ways to get good exercise without the risk of hurting yourself or causing further damage.
You may have to make some modifications to your swing or your clubs if you have arthritis in your hands. You also have the option to take the golf cart if walking is difficult, but at the same time, walking is a low-impact activity that could benefit you too.
8. Low Risk of Injury
Thanks to its low-impact nature, golfers have a lower risk of getting injured than most other sports people. The key is to make sure you get your swing right—even with that, there’s very little that can go terribly wrong on the golf course.
This makes it suitable for a huge variety of people. Young, older, fit, unfit, strong, less strong, healthy, or suffering from various conditions. Whatever your situation, you’re highly likely to not get injured unless you really go wrong with your swing.
9. Social Benefits
Yes, socializing is a health benefit! Staying in touch with people is essential—humans are social creatures and we don’t always do well when we don’t get to see and interact with others. There are two sides to this benefit, depending on your situation.
One, it allows you to spend time with golfing buddies, so you get to do something away from the family and colleagues that you see every day. Two, if you don’t have family or work from home, it allows you the chance to get out and about and socialize.
This is also essential for mental health! While everyone’s home and work situations are different, the truth is that we all need social interaction. Golf can be a way to get it.
10. Better Quality Sleep
The combination of cardiovascular exercise, muscular work, strategic thinking, and being out in nature makes for a night of much better sleep when your head does finally hit the pillow! It’s not so strenuous that it completely exhausts you, but it’s not so light that you don’t get a workout.
But better sleep is a bonus for everyone. When your body is spent, you’re likely to get more deep sleep. Deep sleep is when the body and brain rest and repair, so it’s an essential part of recovery.
The health benefits of playing golf are many, and if you’re looking to improve your overall health, it’s an excellent sport to take up. No longer is it a rich man’s sport, either! You can easily get a great-quality second-hand set of golf clubs and join a club near you.
If you’re already a golfer, there’s no better excuse for getting out on the course (again!) than your health and wellness. Maybe you can even introduce your partner or friends to the game so you can all get (or stay) healthy together.