Some people mistakenly refer to golf as the “lazy man’s sport.” Absent of running, catching or throwing, as is par for the course with many other popular sports, it’s easy to see why it would be perceived in that way. But playing a round of golf can actually be very good exercise. So if you need any other excuse to hit the links, going with the health benefits of golf is something that can’t be refuted.
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 three to five 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 has some 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.
Golf has many benefits, and despite not being as high-energy as baseball or football, for example, it still remains a sport that can prove beneficial to your health.