Date: September 18, 2015
Author: Golf Australia

Play golf, live longer

There are a lot of great excuses to get out of the house to go and play golf – but we challenge you to find a better one than this.

A Swedish study completed in 2009 — published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports — proved that regular golfers have an increased life expectancy of five years.

Yep, that’s right. Play golf, live longer.

Not only that, but those extra years are better lived because of the increased fitness of those who stride the fairways.

For an unexplained reason, those with a lower handicap had a larger increase in life expectancy than others, yet almost all saw the benefits.

So why is this?

Here’s a list of golf’s health benefits:

• Outdoors

Being outdoors on a golf course provides many health benefits for the mind and body. Studies have shown that constant exposure to green areas relaxes the body, reduces stress and aids in alleviating anxiety. Exposure to sunlight allows the body to soak up vitamin D from the sun, promoting bone growth and reducing the risk of depression, heart disease and certain cancers.

• Burns kilojoules

Walking the average course can cover a distance between 5-7km. With all the walking, carrying and swinging involved, golfers can burn in excess of 4000 calories in a single round.

• Fosters relationships

Golf is a socially enjoyable sport. It can be a great way to keep in touch with friends, provide opportunities to meet new people and help connect a community that provides social and psychological benefits.

• Keeps the heart rate up

Playing golf can exercise for the heart. As is the case with burning kilojoules, the walking, carrying and swinging will increase the heart rate, keeping it pumping and increasing blood flow. This will lower the risk of heart diseases and decrease levels of cholesterol.

• Low risk of injuries

Golf is a low-risk sport but still provides physical activity to keep the muscles engaged that leads to increased flexibility and improved core stability. Although golf is primarily a sport of strategy, co-ordination and accuracy, there is physical activity involved through walking, swinging and pivoting.

• Good for the brain

As the heart rate increases, so will blood flow to the brain, which can stimulate and improve nerve cell connections. This can delay mental illnesses such as dementia. Golfers challenge themselves for their personal best scores which can boost confidence and self-esteem, while tallying scores, improving strategy and developing hand-eye coordination will keep the brain active.

• Reduces stress

Golf helps to alleviate stress. Being on the golf course where you can interact with others who share interests is a great way to unwind. The pleasure of walking in a beautiful natural environment and spending time with friends places golfers in a good mood and when endorphins are released, you feel happy and relaxed.

So what’s stopping you from golfing your way to a healthier lifestyle?