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The Health Benefits Behind Booking Your Next Round of Golf

For any golfers looking for another excuse to hit the links, the proven health benefits of playing 18 are definitely a good one. Whether it’s for better mental health or just plain old exercise, the advantages of the sport far outweigh the disadvantages – even scientists agree!

Over the years, research has shown time and time again that golf is good for you. In a new study performed by researchers in Australia, the sport has now been found to help people with osteoarthritis. 

Dr. Brad Stenner and his team from the University of South Australia, surveyed 459 golfers with the condition and compared the results to over 16,000 Australians from the general population. The results were very favourable for golfers! With more than 90 percent rating their health as “good,” “very good” or “excellent,” compared to just 64 percent of the general population with osteoarthritis who don’t play golf.

This new research also found that 22 percent of non-golfers reported “high” to “very high” levels of psychological distress, compared to only 8 percent of golfers with osteoarthritis. The social and physical aspects of the sport are wide-ranging, something Dr. Stenner is keen to highlight.

“People who play golf are often walking 8-10 km 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,” he says.

“There are also significant benefits to mental health and wellbeing. 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,” explains Dr. Stenner. 

He adds that, “From a mental health point of view, playing golf is associated with improved wellbeing and lower levels of psychological distress, and this is an important consideration for older adults.”

Another recent study found that golf may be just as good, if not better than Nordic walking for people over 65. In the U.K. the recommended exercise guideline for adults is to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. The NHS states that “exercise just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.”

In the above study researchers found that “despite the lower exercise intensity of golf, the longer the duration and higher energy expenditure appeared to have a more positive effect on lipid profile and glucose metabolism compared with Nordic walking and walking.”

So, what does this all mean for golfers? It’s great news that should get you even more excited about booking in those summer rounds! Anytime you might be doubting whether it’s a good idea to hit the golf course, just remember all the incredible health benefits that it brings.

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