How Golf Can Make You Live Longer! by Frank Romeo
It’s a beautiful fresh morning in summer, the new sun has just risen, the sky is clear, you can tell its going a be a cracker of a day. Then you remember how challenging the game of golf is as you stand on the first tee. Heart pumping, going over your swing in your head, praying that ‘this one’ splits the fairway in half. Your first drive cuts a little left into the trees and suddenly, the day doesn’t seem as straight forward as it did 5 minutes ago. “Bloody golf!”
…the discipline, the focus, the speed of the game, the patience needed
I took up golf at the age of 19. Completely different to any other sport I was playing at the time – mainly soccer. The physical requirements, the discipline, the focus, the speed of the game, the patience needed – everything is different, regardless of your ability. And even though I have been playing golf for a while now, my golf game leaves a lot to be desired. But what I have taken form the game far exceeds “hitting a little white ball into a hole”.
In short – golf can help you live longer. How? You ask.
I recently came across an article titled “The relationship between golf and health: a scoping review” in the British Journal of Sports Medicine by Murray AD, Daines L, Archilbald D et al. published October 3, 2016.
This article covers some of the health benefits of golf, and knowing the game firsthand, I struggle to see why more people don’t play more often because once you’re a golfer, you’re always a golfer – regardless of how long it has been between rounds.
..once you’re a golfer, you’re always a golfer
Let’s talk about those health benefits for a second though. This article showed that golf can provide moderate physical activity and is associated with improved cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic profiles. Furthermore, the game can provide mental health benefits through reducing anxiety, improving self-confidence and building self-esteem, largely due to its social nature.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Any type of physical activity can have the same benefits! And you would be right. In fact, summarising the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) guidelines, we know that:
- For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, OR
- 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
- Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week
Considering this, one round of golf per week would go close in helping you achieve the minimum amount of exercise required to live a healthier life. And if you are lucky enough to play more than once a week, well you’re living the life already!
..requires good mobility, coordination, strength and stability in all regions of your body
But before you run out to Drummond to buy yourself a new set of clubs, it is important to consider that golf does require a baseline level of physical capacity. Being a three-dimensional movement, swinging a golf club requires good mobility, coordination, strength and stability in all regions of your body. Without this we predispose ourselves to injury and pain – and no one wants that, it may mean missing out of the 4 hours of serenity that weekend.
My advice to any beginners or any existing golfers who haven’t played in a while is to check your movement handicap before you chase a lower golf handicap. I have recently completed training with the Titleist Performance Institute, learning about the full body screen they have developed to help themselves and their golfers understand more about how their bodies move and how they can perform better and it would be my pleasure to help you move better, move more and live longer.
So, if you’re looking for something that can give you the same health benefits of a monotonous walk around the block, encourages social interaction and teaches you a lesson in the pursuit of mastery, then look no further! The first time you split the fairway down the middle, remember these words “Golf has you now!”