How Playing Golf Can Extend Your Life
Few experiences in the game feel better than a solidly hit tee shot that flies straight down the fairway and lands in perfect position to set you up for par. Congratulating yourself for investing in one of the best indoor launch monitors to hone your swing, you’ll walk triumphantly to your ball to line up your next shot. However, as good as that feels, there’s another benefit to playing golf that goes far beyond that good feeling.
Let’s take a look at how playing golf can extend your life.
Fresh Air and Sunshine
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a study of 300,000 golfers found that playing the game cut their death rate by 40 percent. That’s the equivalent of a five-year increase in life expectancy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, golfers who walk the course rather than use carts get the most significant fitness benefits. Still, golfing takes you out of the house and into the sunshine where fresh air and Vitamin D from sunlight can work their magic.
Yes, missing that putt for birdie can get your blood pressure up — and not exactly in a good way. However, playing golf can reduce overall stress levels regardless. Spending time with friends enjoying pleasant conversation in a natural environment can be very soothing. Playing golf also triggers a release of endorphins into the brain. These naturally occurring mood enhancers foster feelings of joy and engender relaxation.
Another byproduct of that endorphin rush, particularly when combined with fresh air and sunshine, is more restful sleep. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep and Wellness say they have solid evidence that proves exercise helps people fall asleep more quickly and improves the quality of their sleep as well.
Medical experts say an average of 10,000 steps per day is needed to effect significant weight loss. Walking an 18-hole round of golf will exceed that number easily. In fact, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found the average player walks four to eight miles over an 18-hole round. This translates to between 11,000 and 17,000 steps. Keeping your weight in check while playing a game you love is a win-win proposition if one ever existed.
Improved Mental Acuity
While you may not have noticed yourself doing so, you tune everything out when you’re lining up a shot. Your thoughts become focused and you’re completely in the moment. This, in turn, improves the blood flow to your brain.
Also along those lines, studies have found green is one of the most relaxing colors. The hue is said to soothe, invite harmony and diffuse anxiety. With their minds focused in a naturally soothing environment, golfers enjoy improved mental acuity. One more thing, another medical study found that people who spend a lot of time in green spaces suffer fewer incidences of heart disease.
Peripheral Fitness Benefits
You must be in good physical condition to be really good at golf. Upper and lower body strength repeatedly comes into play when swinging a club. The best players also enjoy good flexibility in their hips, backs, and shoulders. A substantial measure of stamina is also required to have something left in the tank when you reach the final few holes of the back nine.
The exercise regimens required to help you build these physical traits serve to improve your overall physical conditioning. Ultimately, the aggregation of those physical benefits, along with the psychological benefits we covered above, is how playing golf can extend your life.