Europe UK (Commonwealth Union) – Golf, often regarded as a leisurely sport enjoyed by people of all ages, holds much more than meets the eye. Beyond the meticulously manicured fairways and competitive spirit lies a myriad of health benefits that make golf a valuable addition to a well-rounded lifestyle. From cardiovascular fitness to mental well-being, the impact of golf on health extends far beyond the 18 holes.
Contrary to popular belief, golf is not just a sport of walking and swinging. It demands a combination of strength, flexibility, and endurance. Walking the course, especially if it is hilly, provides a low-impact aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping and improves cardiovascular health. A typical round of golf can involve covering distances of several miles, offering an excellent opportunity for burning calories and maintaining a healthy weight.
Swinging a golf club engages multiple muscle groups in the body. The rotational movement involved in the swing activates the core muscles, including the abdomen, back, and hips. The repetitive nature of swinging helps improve muscle tone and flexibility, particularly in the arms, shoulders, and upper back. Over time, this can enhance overall strength and balance, contributing to better posture and reduced risk of injury.
New research led by the University of South Australia (UniSA) has demonstrated that it may have serious advantages for individuals who have the chronic disease osteoarthritis.
A researcher from UniSA, Dr Brad Stenner from the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) together with a team of academics from Australia and the UK have discovered that golfers who have the degenerative condition experience lesser psychological distress along with improved general health when contrasted with the general population.
The same was noted for golfers with no osteoarthritis. The study appeared in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. Osteoarthritis affects over 2 million Australians who have joint pain and stiffness most frequently in their hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips, playing a role a lesser likelihood of fulfilling physical exercise guidelines.
Osteoarthritis is the most frequent among the forms of arthritis, the main reason for chronic pain as well as the 2nd most frequent cause of disability.
When 459 golfers with osteoarthritis were surveyed with over 90 percent of participants giving a rating of their health as good, very good or excellent, in contrast to just 64 percent of the general population who have the condition.
Almost 3 times as many non-golfers had indicated high to very high levels of psychological distress in contrast to golfers who had osteoarthritis.
Dr Stenner, who is a lecturer as well as an occupational therapist, stated that regular golfers are stay active as a result of the amount of walking needed and they can undergo a range of social advantages as well.
“People who play golf are often walking 8-10km per round and, as such, are regularly meeting or exceeding recommended physical activity guidelines, which is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and improve metabolic and respiratory health,” explained Dr Stenner further indicating that there were significant advantages to mental health together with wellbeing as well.
“Our research has highlighted the important role that golf has in building friendships, contributing to community, and bringing a sense of belonging, all of which are known to contribute to mental health and wellbeing.”
Keeping active as well as exercising frequently is one of the most significant aspects of handling osteoarthritis.
Dr Stenner further indicated that there is an absence in the literature that is known on the topic despite it being one of the most frequent sporting engagements for older adults. He further indicated that very little is known in regards to the links between golf and health and there is so much more required to find out.