Golf club swingers that is. According to a new study from Karolinska Institutet, a medical university in Sweden, the death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socio-economic status. This corresponds to a five-year increase in life expectancy. And golfers with a low handicap fare the best.
Although it’s well known that exercise is good for your health, the expected gains provided by particular sports and physical activities are still largely unstudied. This analysis of the benefits of golf, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and reported by ScienceDaily, is based on data from 300,000 Swedish golfers and shows that golf—a relatively low-intensity form of exercise—has beneficial health effects.
The researchers found that several aspects of the game proved good for overall health: A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, and walking at a fast pace for six to seven kilometers. There are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game. The study did not rule out that other factors than the actual playing, such as a generally healthy lifestyle, are also behind the lower death rate observed among golfers. However, the researchers believe it is likely that the playing of the game in itself has a significant impact on health.
The lowest death rates were found in the group of players with the lowest handicap—the best golfers. Maintaining a low handicap involves playing a lot, which supports the idea that it’s largely the game itself that is good for the health. The bottom line: Golf lessons may be a good investment for your health.
Well, guess I’ll be dusting off my clubs this weekend. Have you experienced health benefits from golf?