Golf is one of the most popular recreational sports in the world, and with good reason. Regarded a low-impact activity that offers a variety of health and social benefits for individuals of any age, this lifetime sport is unlike any other out there. Beyond utilizing a motionless ball in play, and requiring a certain dress code at specific courses, Golf is extremely sustainable, and deeply beneficial to one’s mind, body, and soul.
Golf Brings You Outside
Playing golf means spending a lot of time outdoors, and any activity that gets you outside is beneficial for your health in various ways. Fresh air helps everything from your digestive health to your blood pressure and heart rate. Studies have found individuals who spend more time outdoors are at lower risk of various chronic health diseases, including obesity.
The time spent under direct sunlight is in fact necessary for our bodies to absorb our daily requirement of vitamin D. The act of playing golf under the sun, thus singlehandedly provides support to the immune system, regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, whilst maintaining the necessary nutrients in our bones, teeth, and muscles. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
As many golf courses are set in picturesque locations, players also benefit from the experience of being in nature. Science has long proven how being outdoors and close to nature can help reduce anxiety, improve concentration, boost vision, mitigate bodily pain, provide free aromatherapy, enhance creativity, minimize seasonal affective disorder, and help boost overall self-esteem.
It Encourages Social Interaction
The game of golf is filled with friendly, interesting, and successful people. If you show up at a course with less than a foursome, you will often be paired with others, who already have something in common with you – a love for golf! Of course, having someone to share a drink with at the ‘19th hole’ (clubhouse bar) is not the only benefit. Playing sports with other people helps boost your self-esteem, social skills and overall mental wellbeing. The game itself provides opportunity to strike up conversation, whilst creating new personal and business connections. Other ways to meet golfers include, signing up for tournaments and team events, or joining the Nextgengolf City Tour as a free agent.
…Whilst Fostering a Sense of Healthy Competition
Healthy competition has many benefits. It pushes us to do better and not be complacent. As a result, we often innovate and become creative. It provides feedback regarding our strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to measure ourselves against others in a positive way. For younger or more serious players, friendly competition can help individuals to deal with setbacks and failures, further motivating them to remain inspired and persevere until the point of success.
…But Can Be Enjoyed Just As Well Without Keeping Score
While many sports can only be played in teams, Golf is a pastime that you can easily enjoy by yourself if you want to. We live in a world of constant contact. With new apps emerging every day, encouraging us to stay connected with friends, family, and even strangers that we admire online… It is sometimes difficult to decipher where ‘we’ end and someone else begins. As a result spending time alone is almost necessary. Through experiencing brief moments of peace, quiet, and mental solitude, we allow ourselves time to recuperate and recharge, whilst recovering from the subconscious stresses of daily living.
So many of us lose touch with our intuition when we stay plugged into the outside world all of the time. Spending time with yourself is a huge game-changer when it comes to developing a clear understanding of not only who you are but also of what you already know and what’s right for you moving forward. In fact, being alone with your thoughts gives your brain a chance to explore, which then paves the way for creativity to flourish, whilst improving self-esteem, our sense of appreciation for others, emotional intelligence, and productivity.
Golf Improves One’s Concentration and Critical Thinking Ability
Characterized by a gameplay which prioritizes accuracy, focus and concentration, whilst encouraging creativity and creative thinking, golf teaches players the ability to have foresight. In order to succeed, one not only has to visualise where and how far the shot will go, but practice the necessary hand-eye coordination to achieve their goal. Set in a serene environment, far from the roar of a crowd or an umpire’s whistle, most golf courses are free from distraction.
As repeated swings improve muscle memory, and navigating a course gives each player a greater sense of distance and depth, golf unsurprisingly requires significant amount of movement, which ultimately improves overall blood circulation. An individual with healthy circulation, is able to facilitate enhanced blood and oxygen flow throughout the body, allowing their lungs, heart, brain and muscles to function properly and efficiently. Improved circulation also boosts immunity as white blood cells are transported around the body to combat the spread of potential diseases.
Golf is a Low Risk Sport
No physical activity comes with zero risk of injury, but golf is certainly a low-risk sport. Like all physical activities, stretching before and after a game is necessary, and players should always be careful when lugging around heavy golf kits.
While perfecting your form helps to minimize risk of injury, players that spend a lot of time working on their backswing are often plagued by ‘golfer’s elbow’ – a painful condition caused by strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons in the forearm, which can be cured easily through rest or strengthened with physiotherapy.
Golf Helps You Sleep Better
The combination of exercise, fresh air and natural light has proven to help players get a better night’s sleep after a round of golf. It may feel like low-impact activity at the time, but golf is indeed a significant workout.
On average, most adults require a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle enables individuals to reduce stress and improve their mood, whilst thinking more clearly and improving their performance at work. It also lowers one’s risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease, alongside making the process of social interaction much easier and increasingly enjoyable.
Ultimately, playing golf has amazing potential health benefits that apply to both to experts and beginners alike. Whether you’re five or 85 years old, it is never too late to start playing this highly rewarding sport.