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Golfing is a Health Hole-in-One

  • Category: General Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Matt Gougler
Golfing is a Health Hole-in-One

Many older adults take up golf when they retire. After all, they have plenty of leisure time, and spending some of it on manicured, postcard-worthy golf courses is pretty inviting.

August is National Golf Month, and ATRIO Health Plans wants seniors to know that by hitting the links, they are scoring a health hole in one that brings with in physical, mental, and social benefits.

Physical Benefits

Although golf isn't considered a particularly strenuous sport, it definitely delivers physical benefits, including:

  • The average golfer walks four miles while completing 18 holes of golf and – along the way – burns more than 1,400 calories.
  • Walking from hole to hole also increases muscle strength, improves cardiovascular function, and increases endurance. Even walking only nine holes will drive in significant health benefits.
  • The act of swinging a golf club contributes to enhanced core muscle strength, which helps prevent lower back pain. The traditional golf swing also strengthens muscles in the chest, back, and forearms.
  • While spending a good part of the day traversing 18 holes of golf isn't equivalent to running a marathon, it is physically exerting and the payoff can be getting a good night's sleep. Many older adults have difficulty sleeping, and a day spent golfing can result in a night of sound sleep.

Mental Benefits

At first glance, golf may not appear to be the most cerebral of sports, as the goal can be summed up as: use golf club to whack golf ball in the general vicinity of a specified hole. Successfully achieving that goal, however, actually requires precise mental calculations such as ball location, grass depth, wind direction, green speeds, slope, and more.

Golfing is an enjoyable way for older adults to exercise their minds. With the stimulation of a workplace no longer part of their daily lives, seniors can reignite their strategic-thinking abilities from hole-to-hole on the golf course.

Golf also is credited with the release of endorphins (the "feel good" hormones), which help to boost mood and well-being. Endorphin release also can help relieve overall stress. The serenity of a picturesque golf course can similarly reduce stress.

Social Benefits

With the exception of pro and highly-skilled amateur players, most golfers particularly value the sport's social aspects, such as spending time with friends and enjoying refreshments at the 19th hole.

The social aspects of this game are particularly important for older adults who are at risk of becoming isolated and withdrawn. With each passing year, it can become increasingly difficult to stay in touch with friends. Regular golf outings can be the bridge that preserves important relationships – relationships that contribute to physical and emotional health.

If you've never taken a swing at golf, the month of August is inviting you to do just that.