Known as a sport of leisure and as a gentleman’s game, golf is one of the most popular, well-received sports worldwide. Played on a large outdoor course covering anywhere between 30 and 200 acres, the object of the sport is to propel a small hard ball into a series of ‘holes’ with as few strokes as possible, using a variety of wood or iron-tipped sticks called golf clubs. Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Exposure to the outdoors – The nature of playing golf on courses as large as 200 acres requires players to be outdoors. Basking in nature provides us many health benefits for our mind and body. Studies have shown that constant exposure green areas relaxes the body, reduces stress and can aid in alleviating anxiety. Furthermore, exposure to sunlight allows the body to soak up vitamin D from the sun, promoting bone growth in youth and reducing the risk of depression, heart disease and certain cancers
- Fosters relationships – Golf is a very 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. Since golf is a game of that is not as highly intense or competitive as soccer or basketball, there is plenty of down time and silence for interacting with fellow golfers. Studies have even shown that a great number of business deals are closed on the golf course!
- Strengthens the bladder – This one is a bit surprising but it certainly deserves noting. Those frequent visits to your friendly course beer-cart girl can give your bladder a run for time. The longer you learn to hold it, the more you strengthen the capacity of your bladder. And, as noted by some women golfers, it’s also an effective way to strengthen leg muscles, especially in the quadriceps. Those crouching maneuvers used by those who can’t “hold it” are a unique way of doing leg exercises.
- Burns calories – Covering 30 to 200 acres means a lot of walking! Skipping out on the golf cart and walking the average course can cover a distance between five to seven kilometers. If you opt to carry your own clubs, you’ll burn even more calories, too! With all the walking, carrying and swinging involved, golfers can burn up to 1000 calories in a single game.
- Keeps your heart rate up – Playing golf can lead to quite a bit of exercise for your heart. As is the case with burning calories, the walking, carrying and swinging will increase your heart rate, keeping it pumping and increasing blood flow. Naturally, this will lower your risks for heart diseases and decrease levels of “bad” cholesterol.
- Good for your brain – As your heart rate increase, so will blood flow to the brain, which can stimulate and improve nerve cell connections. This can delay mental illnesses such as dementia. While competing against others, golfers will also compete with themselves for personal best scores. This type of challenging boosts confidence and self-esteem, while the mental alacrity involved in tallying scores, improving strategy and fostering hand-eye coordination will keep the brain active in logical functions.
- Improves vision – It requires pretty good vision to zoom in on that round, little white ball that may be yards away. Golfers learn to hone in on small targets from long distances and even when the ball is on the tee, prior to their swing, golfers are presented with the opportunity to evaluate the keenness of their vision while improving hand-eye coordination.
- Low-risk injury sport – Golf is a leisurely sport and, compared to other sports, the overall risk of injury is low because it is not a contact sport. Though golf is primarily a sport of strategy, coordination and accuracy, there is some physical activity involved given the walking, swinging and pivoting. Golf is a low-risk injury sport but still provides just enough physical activity to keep the muscles engaged,
- Better sleep – Since you are getting quite a bit of exercise, your tired body will thank you at night when it’s time for some long deserved rest. Golfers will fall asleep faster and sleep more profoundly, and are able to remain in a deep sleep for longer periods of time due to the amount of energy expended. Deeper sleep is necessary for your body to regenerate cell and repair any muscles and tissues.
- Reduces stress – Golf helps to alleviate stress. Being in an outdoor area where you can interact with others who share your interests is a great way to forget any troubles. The pleasure of walking in an open and natural environment and spending time with friends places golfers in a good mood. This is because playing a round of golf can release endorphins – natural, mood-enhancing chemicals within our brains, making you happier and relaxed.
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