It’s no brainer to say that golf feels a bit lax compared to other sports. Instead of lifting weights or cardio workouts, people stroll around a giant lawn in funny clothes. Despite the game’s slow-paced reputation, current research reveals that for older individuals, golfing regularly could be a hole-in-one for health.
Here are the facts:
- Researchers revealed that playing golf regularly, at least once a month, reduces the risk of death.
- Regular golfers showed significantly lower rate of death (15.1 percent) compared with the rest of the group who did not (24.6 percent).
- It’s believed that the social nature of golf is valuable to individuals who may not be able to try a rigorous exercise routine.(healthline)
In the studies from the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, researchers found that playing golf regularly ,at least once a month, reduces the risk of death. Researchers didn’t distinguish whether players walked or used a golf cart while playing however.
Researchers then used data from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), the observational study of cardiovascular disease risk in adults 65 years and older. The average age was 72.
The study had around 5,900 individuals, of which 384 played golf. The conclusion, 8.1 percent that played golf had suffered strokes, and 9.8 percent succumbed to heart attacks. The number of cardiovascular events for golfers didn’t differ significantly from the rest of the group.(healthline)
Regular golfers showed a significantly lower rate of death (15.1 percent) compared to the other groups (24.6 percent).
Does golf count as a physical activity?
Around 25 million Americans play Golf. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans do not include it among their list of recommended physical activities.
Qureshi, lead author and executive director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of Missouri, hopes that their research may begin to change that.
A big problem facing many older Americans is the lack of exercise. Qureshi suggests that golf is an enticing solution to this problem.
“While walking and low intensity jogging may be comparable exercise, they lack the competitive excitement of golf,” he said. “Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment, and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health.
According to the American Heart Association, 69 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese or overweight, and that number is rising. Adults tend exercise less while they age.
Physical activity is still important in old age. It prevents bone loss, builds muscle strength, improves coordination and balance, and mitigates the risk of age-related disease.
Benefits of golf
The health benefits of golf seem to be fairly consistent.
A 2016 review from the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed both doctors and policymakers should encourage more people to play golf because of its association with “improved physical health and mental well-being, and a potential contribution to increased life expectancy.”
Another review two years later showed golf does increase life expectancy, improve cardiovascular risk factors, and mental well-being.