Golfing Has Surprising Health Benefits For You As You Age

What does it really mean to age gracefully? While looking as young as possible for as long as possible may be one of the first things that come to mind, aging gracefully isn't about beauty alone and has much more to do with your overall health and happiness. In addition to being kind to your skin (all of it, not just your face), Healthline says finding new hobbies, prioritizing oral care, and practicing mindfulness are all ways to ensure you age gracefully. They also say exercising and staying physically active are big factors. 

Sports are a physical activity that can also be counted as exercise and there's one in particular that you can start reaping the benefits of long before you enter your golden years: golf. Between walking from one hole to the next, the amount of concentration required, and using your core to stabilize a good swing, golf is a sport that proves to be good for both your physical and mental well-being.

This is how golf helps your body and mind

The first benefit of playing golf is physical activity. A 2016 review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine provided substantial evidence concerning the physical benefits of the game. The review said that golf can be considered a moderate-intensity aerobic activity, and data showed that golfers who walk all 18 holes take between 11,245 and 16,667 steps, burning up to 2,467 calories. This may be helpful in preventing and treating chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and breast cancer. Playing golf regularly may also aid in improved lung function in older adults specifically.

Another benefit, perhaps the biggest, is that people who golf live longer. Evidence presented in the review suggests there's a link between playing golf and mortality rates. In a Swedish study that compared golfers to non-golfers, those who played the sport had a 5-year increase in life expectancy regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status.

From a mental standpoint, a 2018 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine connected golf to mental well-being. Per Golf Digest, Roger Hawkes, one of the authors of the study, said that "moderate physical activity is associated with a reduction in anxiety and a reduction in depression."

Lastly, golf can be a form of therapy. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services concluded that golf can help improve focus and concentration, and can reduce mental burdens.