This year, many will make the effort to make a change in their life and set out plans to help them get fit or improve their mental health. What if there was a sport that not only gets you out and about but can also help clear the mind? Golf!
Many think of golf as a solo sport because it isn’t a team game. However, walking round your local golf course with a few friends, having a laugh and talking about life with others is one of the most enjoyable aspects about golf and that’s all before you’ve even swung a club. Playing sports with other people helps boost your self-esteem, social skills, and overall mental health. There is also the 19th hole where you can enjoy a drink and a chat about your round before you leave the course!
Golf has often been referred to as “a good walk spoiled” but the walking aspect of golf is a key part in getting fit. Walking gets your circulation going, encouraging your heart to work more efficiently, and helping to build its muscles. So although you are not running or dressed in gym gear, golf can still help your heart and muscles get active and generally improve body function.
With all that being said, golf can really help burn calories and aid weight loss. As previously stated, you may not feel like you are getting in an intense workout, however if you are walking an 18 hole golf course for 4 hours then it really adds up. It can be perfect for those who are counting steps as you will find after 1 round of golf you should be doing around 10,000 steps. This sustained activity keeps your heart rate up and at an optimum level for burning calories, the average length of a full 18-hole golf course is around 3.5 miles so if you are able, you should walk it rather than getting a buggy!
The reason you can play golf at any age is because there is very little risk to serious injury (other than the odd wayward club or ball followed by the shout FORE!) As with all physical activity though, it is possible to get hurt, but as long as you perfect your form and take care carrying bags around the course you should be able to stay injury free and have fun whilst playing golf.
In 2018 there was a European wide study that showed golf as a means to better overall mental health. The former Chief Medical Officer of the European Tour, Roger Hawkes, said “Mental health is a big thing in this day and age, and moderate physical activity is associated with a reduction in anxiety and a reduction in depression.” As well as touching on the social side of golf by going on to say “Social interaction is the risk factor which has been undervalued.”
Whether you are a high or low handicapper, getting out on the course can be a fun morning or afternoon, but scratch the surface a little bit and you can find so many aspects of golf that can benefit you and your physical and mental health. Let us know if you are using golf to get fit this year.