Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” It’s true. Golf is a sport that seems simple on paper – choose a club, hit the ball and try to get it in the hole – but the strategy behind each stroke is complex. Players may arrive at a different solution for every angle.
What isn’t complicated, however, is the health benefits that playing golf offers, especially to older adults. Golf is a timeless game that offers a fun social environment and moments of quiet contemplation. Plus, research demonstrates that playing golf offers many physical and mental health advantages to people as they age.
Physical Benefits of Golf
For most older adults, playing golf provides heart-healthy aerobic activity and can help increase muscle strength. Whether you’re walking the course or riding in a golf cart, the sport can provide moderate levels of exercise. Consider these stats:
- The average golfer walks 4 miles during 18 holes of golf, during which they burn about 1400 calories, according to Golf Digest.
- If you ride in a golf cart instead, you still burn around 800 calories from walking back and forth and swinging clubs.
Walking the Course
Walking the course helps you build muscle strength, improve your overall cardiovascular function and increase your endurance. Physical strength in older adults helps lower the risk of falling and therefore helps you maintain independence. Golfing on a regular basis can help lower your blood pressure too.
If walking the entire course seems too daunting, consider walking the first half and using a golf cart for the back nine.
The action of swinging a golf club promotes core muscle strength and building the core region is a great way to reduce lower back pain. Your swing also builds the muscles in your chest, buttocks, back, and forearms.
Mental Health Benefits of Golf
Golf is equally beneficial to your psychological health. The sport requires precise mental calculations: you’re thinking about ball location, grass depth, terrain type, wind direction, the overall speed of the green and the slope of the land, among many other variables. Just thinking about all these factors throughout the game exercises your brain and hones your decision-making skills. Golf is a great way to keep your mind strong.
According to a study performed by Dr. Mark Campbell, a sport psychologist at the University of Limerick, an exercise or golf session of 30 minutes or more can:
- Reduce age-related memory loss
- Lower the risk of developing depression or anxiety
- Reduce negative moods
- Improve sleep
- Increase self-esteem
Campbell’s study also found that exercise increases overall cognitive function, supports emotional well-being and improves the overall quality of life. The outdoor scenery and social connections may further boost your mood.
Golf offers a wealth of physical and mental health benefits. If you’re looking for a workout that’s fun to do and allow you to enjoy the outdoors, golf just may be the ideal activity. Riddle Village frequently holds golf outings and events throughout the year. Learn more by contacting our concierge team.