Although golf typically has a carefree and easygoing attitude about it, the sport has numerous health and wellness benefits, especially for Baby Boomers who like to spend a morning or afternoon on the green, or for those who are lucky enough to live in an active adult community that's centered around a course.
For starters, an 18-hole course has a lot of ground to cover and the average person will walk about five miles from start to finish, according to GolfLink. Ride in a cart for all 18 holes, and you'll still walk about a mile during the course of the game. Those miles add up to a number of calories burned: approximately 1,442 by an average-sized man who walks and carries his golf clubs for 18 holes. Even if you only pull your clubs, you'll burn a total of 1,436 calories. And those who cannot walk a course due to physical reasons will still benefit from the game, riding in a golf cart in between play time will result in 822 calories burned.
As most golf courses have hills and valleys, walking and playing a round is a great cardiovascular activity that will not only benefit your heart and lungs, but also strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings. But, it's also low-impact and has one of the lowest risks of injuries compared to other sports, according to Golfsmith. And, if you warm up and stretch before playing, you'll reduce your risk even more, plus burn additional calories.
Beyond the physical benefits, golf is great for the mind, too. Playing golf releases endorphins, those natural mood-boosting drugs, in our brains. Combine that with the pace of the game and being outdoors, and golf adds up to be an all-around stress reliever. The social factor comes into effect here, as well. Golf provides socialization opportunities for those of like ages or different. It's a sport that young and old enjoy, so active adults can take in a game with their golf buddies or even their grandchildren.
A few other benefits are worth noting as well:
- Tests your eyesight: Every time you swing at the ball—and then trying to see where it landed—you're keeping tabs on your eyesight.
- Helps train your bladder: The average golf course takes about four hours to complete; that's a while for some people to make it back to the clubhouse bathrooms. The longer you can hold it, the stronger your bladder will become.
- Lets you get a good night's rest: Any type of physical activity that gives your heart and body a good workout will help you fall asleep quickly and then help you stay asleep throughout the night. With golf, walking the course, carrying or pulling your golf bag and actually playing the game will do exactly that.
Golfing may even help you live longer. A study conducted by the Karolinska Institutet of 300,000 Swedish golfers, as detailed by the American Society of Golf Course Architects, found that the death rate for golfers was 40 percent lower than for other people of the same age, sex, and socioeconomic status. For regular golfers, this results in a life expectancy increase of five years.
So, putt putt away! And if a full course is too much, even hitting at a driving range or playing miniature golf will burn about 211 calories for an average 155-pound person. Either way, golfing will do wonders for your physical and mental health!