While those not in love with golf agree it’s ‘a good walk spoiled’, those who do love it perhaps don’t realise that it bestows many physical and psychological benefits over and above a simple ‘good walk’. So let’s have a look at why golf is better for you than you thought and is actually proper exercise.
It takes time
For starters golf is a game that takes time. On average you’re looking at a four-hour session and the less experienced players require longer – particularly if the ball finds its way into a bunker or two. And although it’s not high octane, keep walking for four hours and you’ll be taking well over the recommended 10,000 steps per day, rising to 32,640 on some courses.
Few other sports last this long, giving golfers great staying power.
It burns fat
You may not raise your heart rate to the high echelons of your ‘training zone’ playing golf, but that prolonged period of walking, standing and swinging is genuine endurance training that would challenge players of less time-consuming sports.
And because the heart rate remains low, you’re in the fat burning zone, getting your energy from the reserves high-intensity exercise doesn’t access.
It builds strength
Like all sports, tech has invaded golf and in fitness terms not necessarily for the better. Buggies, trolleys, motorized golf bags and new golf club materials have lightened the load and reduced the miles for many players. But those who stick to carrying their own bags and walking them every inch of the course are lifting roughly 25k in weight, and bringing a genuine workout element to the game.
Because of their weight, most bags come with wheels but even pulling and pushing that around a 4-mile course including its various contours and cambers is real resistance training that will strengthen and tone your whole body.
It’s highly social
Whether you pay as you play with friends or join a club and play with members, spending four hours in the company of others simply cannot pass in silence. In truth all multiplayer sports are bonding, but the pace and duration of golf is unique in that you’re not too breathless to talk and you don’t compete in the same way as many other sports where you directly face your opponents.
So all that fresh air, coupled with friendly conversation, builds bonds which has been proven to reduce stress to an incredible extent. And those bonds often build commitment to the game meaning you keep playing, get even fitter and feel even happier.
Then of course there’s the celebrated 19th hole!
Train to improve your game
If you’re serious about any sport playing it without some additional training won’t elevate you to the success levels you’d enjoy with a little coaching and some self-managed sports specific training.
Adding a circuit-style program once or twice a week will reap huge benefits to your golf game. Kettlebells are great for improving your swing, squats with barbells will keep your legs strong for all the walking and core work on a Swiss ball will improve your play too.
So the next time you think walking is better than golfing, think again.
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