The Health Benefits of Golf
Golf. What a game. A game that allows you to escape your day and relish in the beauty of nature, competition, and health. Could it be a foggy morning where the ball goes into the mist but doesn’t seem to come down? Maybe the ball travels 20 feet further than you suspected due to a wispy hot wind. Possibly the day brings slight drizzle upon you that dampens the grass and sprays all around you after a well struck ball down the fairway. We all love to forget those rough days where nothing seems to go our way. But then there’s always the one shot. That glorious victory that hugs down the line of maple trees just right that sets you up for the green just perfectly that makes you fall in love with the game all over again. What a game.
Golf is not only a great game but is beneficial for our health and well-being. The World Golf Foundation along with golf’s global leaders also believe this to be true. They saw the need for a “comprehensive, evidence informed consensus summary of key issues, and key actions with regard to golf and health.” This led them to developing the “2018 International Consensus Statement on Golf and Health to guide action by people, policymakers and the golf industry.” The goal of their consensus was to 1) engage leaders to build an agreement relating to golf and health and 2) achieve consensus on the health risks and benefits associated with golf, how people can improve their health through playing golf or spectating at events, and how the golf industry and policy makers can increase opportunities for gaining health benefits through golf and minimize the health risks of golf.
Through analyzing the best current health literature and gleaning on the knowledge of experts, they developed 83 statements. All 83 statements can best supply evidence informed decisions for those playing and enjoying golf and who work in the golf industry to best educate and improve the health of those playing the game. Below are some key points established by the authors.
Health Key Points:
- Increase longevity
- Decrease known risk factors for cardiovascular disease
- Improve mental well-being
- Moderate intensity aerobic activity
- Strength and balance for older adults
- Walking is more beneficial than riding a cart
- Regular play vs intermittent play provides great health benefits
- 150 min/week or golfing or engage in other forms of moderate to vigorous activity in addition to golf
- Walk the course (play, spectate)
- Warm up with aerobic exercise and mobility exercise, practice swings, strength and conditioning program in order to decrease injury risk
- Those with cardiovascular disease can play with acceptable safety
- Return to golf is expected after undergoing a total joint replacement
- See a physician and/or a physical therapist for guidance
The infographic below highlights some important points from the report. For those avid readers, the link to the consensus is below as well!
Braden Swanson, PT, DPT
Link to consensus: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/22/1426