How Golf keeps you healthy from head to toe – Breaking stereotypes
02/09/2022 by Elena Sinde Romero
Higher life expectancy, prevention and development of body and mind are just a few health benefits of playing golf, the perfect sport to all.
What is not written about fitness, which promotes our golf game, about what golf can do to us. The list of health benefits of golf is endless, the golf cosmos is full of medical treatises and gymnastic instructions. Who wouldn’t know that golf is a sport played primarily between the ears? The mental component affects the constitution. And vice versa. “Mens sana in corpore sano”, a healthy mind in a healthy body: this is mutually dependent.
Play golf longer, live longer
There are enough studies on this. The Swedes found that golfers who play regularly – about twice a week – live on average five years longer than non-golfers. The Karolinska Institute analysed the lifespan of around 300,000 active golfers who were born after 1920 and started playing golf before 2001. Ageing through play, in other words. Who doesn’t wish for a longer healthy life? You’re only one club away to achieve so.
“Moderate physical activity, such as golf, increases life expectancy,” says Dr Andrew Murray, head of the Golf & Health Project at the University of Edinburgh. The sport supports the prevention and treatment of more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer. It also helps with psychiatric conditions such as depression and dementia, and simply promotes health and well-being.
Care your mind. Golf is a mental sport
The reasons are as obvious as they are plausible. “Golf is a mental sport with aerobic and thus healthy exercise in the fresh air and in the green – and that for several hours. It doesn’t get any better than that,” says Hamburg preventologist Andrea S. Klahre, who, as a therapist for mind-body medicine and prevention coach, is professionally concerned with the coherence of body and mind.
For the therapist, the game is pure Zen beyond its “swing-technical, anatomical, physiological and also preventive aspects”. “Golf, played alone, is a kind of movement meditation and, like sitting meditation, changes the brain waves in centres that are responsible for attentional performance and the ability to cope with stress,” clarifies Klahre. “In addition, the autonomic nervous system is regulated, in the sense of a relaxation reaction.”
It is precisely this combination of flexibility, endurance and alertness that makes golf the ideal form of training for many existing ailments, from exhaustion syndromes to respiratory diseases. Or simply as a school for concentration, “as long as holistic health awareness can be promoted at the same time,” adds Klahre.
Training from head to toe – Complete sport
The key data of the time- and above all age-less game are well known, but cannot be repeated often enough: an 18-hole round burns at least 1,200 calories, five to ten kilocalories per minute. In contrast to other ball sports, such as football or tennis, golf burns mainly fats. This lowers blood fat levels, especially LDL cholesterol, which is harmful to the cardiovascular system. A skilful swing also tenses 124 of a total of 434 muscles. So training from head to toe.
Golf is benefitial and this is why
Golf is a passion for many people. Some go to the range five times a week, others only twice a month – but all golfers have one thing in common: the fun of hitting the little white ball. Golf takes place in the fresh air, in nature. You move around a lot, you are often out for 4-5 hours. “Golf is good for your health,” some say. “Golf ruins your back,” say others.
What does golf actually do to our psyche? The series “Golf and Health” deals with these questions and statements and helps to get a better insight into the health of our beloved sport.
Change of mind – Golf is for healthy
When people think of golfers, they no longer think of overweight gentlemen with cigars in their mouths. The sport has become more athletic, thanks in part to Tiger Woods. Young junior golfers therefore train specifically and holistically – also to prevent injuries. The series “Golf and Health” deals, for example, with whether and how the modern golf swing is related to back problems. The amateur golfer also gains interesting insights, e.g. why golf is a health sport and offers the perfect relaxation for the mind.
Striving for a healthy swing
However: “Healthy golfing has nothing to do with the pursuit of a better handicap, but is the pursuit of an individual, but also healthy golf swing,” Prof. Dr. Eduard David, physiologist at the private university of Witten-Herdecke, said years ago.
More than any other sport, golf is suitable for everyone, young and old. And with optimal interaction, the game is the perfect sport for brain, heart, soul and all other systems. Golf should be available on prescription!
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