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New Study Uncovers Health Benefits of Golf (INFOGRAPHIC)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere might be packing away their clubs for the winter, golfers in Houston know that fall brings some of the sport’s best weather. With an average November high of 72 ºF, now is a great time get out on the greens.

And if you need an excuse… a study published this fall in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has got you covered! The new study brings to light some interesting connections between golf and physical health. We’ve reposted BJSM’s infographic below, which sums up a few of the key findings. For a more in-depth review, select the link above to read the abstract.

Golf & Physical Activity

BJSM researchers believe that golf incorporates three critical physical activities: moderate to intense aerobic activity, strength building and spectating (vision/eyesight). Of course, walking the grounds will provide more health benefits than using a golf course. The report suggests:

  • Golfers who use a golf cart walk approximately 6,000 steps (four miles) and burn 600 calories while playing 18 holes.
  • Golfers who walk the course take approximately 11,000 to 17,000 steps (four to eight miles) and burn 1,200 calories over the course of 18 holes.

Even if you’re unable to walk the entire course, you can still get a great workout in while golfing. Listen to your body, and play in a way that’s right for your condition and exercise needs.

Health Benefits of Golf

Other potential health benefits discovered:

  • Golfers live longer compared to non-golfers.
  • Improved mental health: increased self-esteem, -worth and –efficacy. (After all, this is what happens to your brain when you exercise.)
  • Improved lung function in older adults.
  • Improved balance and strength in older adults.
  • Improvement in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
  • Relatively low injury rate per hour.
  • Decreased risk of colon and breast cancer with regular physical activity.

Golf’s Affect on Certain Chronic Conditions

Lastly, physical activity (golf included) has been shown to reduce the risk of the following chronic conditions by the percentages indicated below:

  • Hip fractures (-36 to 68%)
  • Diabetes (-30 to 40%)
  • Cardiovascular disease, stroke (-20 to 35%)
  • Colon cancer (-30%)
  • Depression/dementia (-20 to 30%)
  • Breast cancer (-20%)

Questions about how golf (or any physical activity) can improve your health? Talk to your Houston sports medicine physician, and take a look at the full infographic below.


Talk to Your Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

To learn more about developing an exercise plan that meets your unique goals and needs, schedule a visit with your Houston sports medicine physician. Call Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics at (713) 756-5546, or schedule online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.