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Using Your Golf Game To Benefit Your Health
There are three types of golfers: those who want to stay fit by playing golf, those who want to stay fit for golf, and those who don’t think about fitness. Regardless of which category you might fall into, there is good news. The Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet found that the death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age, and socioeconomic status, which corresponds to a five-year increase in life expectancy.
Most golf courses are about 6,500 yards long. That doesn’t include the distance between the tees and greens, or all the extra steps you get looking for your ball in the weeds. If you walk 18 holes, you will walk more than four miles. According to studies by the U.S. Department of Health and the British Heart Foundation, health benefits to walking regularly include reducing body fat, lowering blood pressure and high cholesterol, enhancing mental well being, increasing bone density, and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer of the colon.
Despite the obvious health benefits, golf carts have become more popular than walking the course. Many courses even require players to use golf carts. In the not so distant past, golf carts weren’t even an option. In addition to the loss of fitness, riding in a cart, many golfers believe, is not helpful in trying to keep a consistent tempo in your swing. And hustling around in a golf cart removes some of the relaxation and rhythm of the game. I know a guy who likes to ride a cart and play as quickly as he can. When I ask him how he played he doesn’t tell me his score; he brags that it only took him an hour and a half to play 18 holes. Finally, golf carts can negatively affect the golf experience for you and others, as numerous people driving around on the fairways can be hard on the turf. To protect the grass, many courses have implemented a 90-degree rule that requires people to ride along the path until they get to the point where they have to make a 90-degree turn to get to their ball.
Walking 18 holes is clearly a better choice than driving a cart, but if you who choose this healthy option, be sure to keep your energy level on target throughout the round. Building endurance by playing more frequently and exercising off the course can be helpful. But even the game of those who are the most fit among us may drop off toward the end of the round without something to eat and drink. Many nutrition experts suggest that players should eat a healthy snack at least three times during the round. They also recommend drinking a little bit of water twice per hole. The first stages of dehydration can set in before an individual is even thirsty.
Golf is a challenging game that offers life-enriching benefits of spending time with friends and associates and enjoying the outdoors. Walking the course offers one more perk: It boosts health—and may even add a few years of golfing to your life.
Bill Phillips of GolfClubsConsultant.com has enjoyed playing golf since he was a young teenager. His site offers a wealth of information and advice about selecting and using golf clubs, including Maxfli golf clubs, used left handed golf clubs, custom golf clubs, and more.
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