Study reveals regular rounds increase life expectancy, prevent disease and improve mental health
By Martin Inglis
Playing golf is likely to increase life expectancy, help prevent chronic diseases and improve your mental health, a study has said.
The sport has physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows.
Researchers reviewed 5,000 studies into golf and wellbeing to build a comprehensive picture of the sport’s health benefits, as well as its potential drawbacks.
Findings show that golf is likely to improve cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health, while it can also help those who suffer chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer and strokes.
The physical benefits of golf increase with age, researchers from the University of Edinburgh said, while balance and muscle endurance in older people are improved by playing the sport.
The study, which is part of the Golf & Health Project and led by the World Golf Foundation, found that golfers typically burn a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes, while increased exposure to sunshine and fresh air were found to be additional benefits.
Lead researcher Dr Andrew Murray, from the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
“Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth. Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages.”
Padraig Harrington, a vice-captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup, three-time major champion
and Golf & Health Ambassador, said: “I have seen how impactful golf can be on peoples’ wellbeing – now it’s time to get this message out there.”
Fellow ambassador Annika Sorenstam, a 12-time major champion, said: “I strongly believe playing golf helps
people stay fit, active and healthy. The Golf & Health Project will help all of us better promote the sport’s physical
and mental benefits.”