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WEB 1003x521 HEADER Mind Body Lifestyle Golf Fitness.72dpi
WEB 1003x521 HEADER Mind Body Lifestyle Golf Fitness.72dpi

Lifestyle

Sun & Exercise Make For A Great Round Of Golf

One of the best things about golf is that it’s not only great fun, but it’s also a great activity to benefit your health.  Just one round of golf soaking up the warm sun and walking the green can provide you with a number of health benefits. Golf can be a great calorie-burner, provided you leave the cart at the clubhouse.

Physical Health Benefits

Most eighteen-hole golf courses are 5,000-8,000 yards long, which is roughly three to five miles.  A 140-lb woman walking that distance will burn around 300-500 calories.  And according to a 2004 article in Harvard Men’s Health Watch, walking that distance 3-4 times per week equals optimal endurance exercise for your heart.

However, keep in mind that golf yardage is calculated on a straight line from tee box to green.  In reality, most golf games are not quite so linear, especially if you’re a beginner.  Zigzagging across the fairway to follow wayward shots can easily add another 100 yards to each hole.  In addition, a golf course’s yardage does not account for the distance from the green to the next tee box, which can add another 30-50 yards per hole.

The standard golf swing also engages your core muscles and arm muscles.  The more you swing, the more of a workout those muscles get.  Strengthening your core muscles improves your swing, which not only improves your golf game, but also improves your posture and decreases your risk of injury.

Aside from the calorie burn and muscle workout, the sun exposure you receive during a round of golf is a great source of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is an important factor in a number of bodily functions.  Recent studies have linked low Vitamin D levels to osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and even obesity.

According to Dr. Matthew Schulman, assistant professor of plastic surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, “While excess sun exposure can lead to skin cancers and premature aging, moderate sun exposure is necessary for the body to convert Vitamin D to its useful form…A round of golf per week (with sun block) will provide enough sun exposure for adequate vitamin D conversion and healthy muscles and bones.”

Mental Health Benefits

Heading out to the links can also be a wonderful way to reduce stress.  Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, psychologist and physical therapist, emphasizes that attitude is important.  “View golf as a fun competition,” she says. “People who enjoy golf can significantly decrease stress by engaging in this sport.”

In addition, sunlight increases your body’s levels of serotonin, also known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter and the focus of therapy with certain antidepressants.  After a few hours of golfing in the sun, your mood is bound to improve.   Dr. Lombardo also points out that “golf can increase creativity, problem solving abilities and mental acuity,” which can make you more productive both on the course and off.  And let’s not forget that hunting for your ball in the woods can be a stimulating game of search and find.

Longevity

Finally, golf may actually help you live longer.  According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports in 2008, the death rate among golfers is reduced by forty percent, regardless of age, sex, or socioeconomic status.

So grab your clubs and a bottle of sunscreen and head out for eighteen.  With golf you can not only live better, you can also live longer.

BY TURI McNAMEE, MD | https://19thholemag.com | LIFE. WELL PLAYED.

 

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