Every year there are new reports about the number of golfers in the UK decreasing – yet hopefully those figures may start to rise again following the publication of new research in the British Journal from the University of Edinburgh.
The University’s approach to this was to look at 5,000 studies on golf and health. They found that golf had both physical and mental health benefits for players of all ages, whether male or female; it is likely to improve cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health and can help to prevent chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, colon and breast cancer and stroke.
Additional benefits of playing the game we love were shown to actually increase with age, as golf improves both balance and muscle endurance. The health benefits are brought about by the exercise involved which burns a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes. For those looking to play unlimited golf on their next golfing break can be forgiven for enjoying that extra beer or helping themselves to a dessert after a tough day on the fairways!
Dr Andrew Murray, from the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at Edinburgh University, 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.”
Hopefully this new research has some impact in kick starting the growth participation numbers and gives the impetus for those in their teens, twenties and thirties to consider playing the game if they don’t do already as they look for alternative sports as people naturally move away from more physical ones such as football and rugby.