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7 Reasons why Golf is Good for Brain and Body Health

Things to keep in mind when someone asks you why you play so much golf

 

Golf can be exhilarating and challenging! Despite the occasional frustrations, the game rewards regular players with more than just a nice walk and the elusive hole-in-one. Playing golf also benefits your cognitive and physical health.

Woman in her golf swing follow-through
Research indicates that people playing golf have a longer life expectancy and generally a healthier quality of life

Here are seven reasons to keep practicing your swing—plus, learn how Aviv Clinics is helping golfers improve their game and their longevity, for plenty more years of play.

Improves and Extends Longevity

Golfers, on average, live five years longer than their non-golfing counterparts, according to a study by the Swedish medical university, Karolinska Institutet. Another long-term study that focused on cardiovascular disease, revealed that golfers experienced a 15.1% lower death rate compared to non-golfers at 24.6%, when compared with overall mortality statistics.

More than just “living longer,” golf improves your healthspan, which is the number of years you feel healthy, stay active, and enjoy the vitality of both your mind and body.

Two women adding up their scorecard after a round of golf
Not only is golf beneficial, it is a sport that many can play with their friends or family members

Enhances Brain Health

Golfing has been shown to have positive effects on the brain as well. A National Institutes of Health study found that golf contributes to improved focus and attention in individuals who experienced “subjective memory complaints.”

Additional brain benefits include increased blood flow to the brain, sharpened focus, and stimulation of the cerebellum—one of the areas of the brain responsible for coordination.

Promotes Healthier Sleep

A good night’s rest is one of the key factors in health and wellbeing. During deep sleep, the body and brain performs restorative and repairing processes that allow you to function at an optimal level in your waking hours. After a day on the links, your body is ready for a well-deserved rest—and science supports this.

Research has shown that moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of deep sleep a person gets. Exercise also helps stabilize your mood and decompress the mind, which is a process important for naturally transitioning into sleep.

 
Group of diverse people enjoying a visit after their round of golf
Socialization is one of the biggest benefits of Golf as players enjoy golfing in the company of others, often sharing a sense of comraderie both on the course and after a round of golf in the clubhouse
 

Fosters Socialization

The social aspects of golf as a group activity also helps your health. Socializing has been proven to:

  • stave off loneliness and depression

  • sharpen memory and cognitive capacity

  • increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing

  • help you live longer

Why? Socializing triggers the nervous system to release certain neurotransmitters that regulate the body’s response to stress and anxiety. Social connections also release the “feel good” hormone dopamine.

Reduces Stress

Compounding the effects of socialization in respect to stress and mental health, playing golf can have an overall impact on a person’s stress levels. Being outdoors in nature, performing exercise, and socializing have all been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. This is due to a reduction in cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and release of endorphins, which are chemicals that help to relieve stress and boost happiness.

 
Woman playing a golf shot into a beautiful sunset with crimson skies.
Golf is one of the few sporting activities where one can play by themselves and doesn't require others to compete against. Often times, golf becomes a journey for an individual, seeking solace in nature and being alone with their thoughts.
 

Increases Vitamin D Exposure

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins in the human body. It’s most known for promoting healthy bones, but this crucial vitamin also supports immune health, muscle function, and brain cell activity. Sun exposure, when incorporated safely with appropriate sun protection, is a natural way to get the amount of vitamin D your body needs for peak performance.

Being outside—under the sun and in the fresh air—also produces additional positive effects. For example, fresh air increases the flow of oxygen in the body, which leads to other benefits like healthy digestion and overall improved cell function.

Burns Calories

While not as intense as a HIIT class or kickboxing session, a round of golf does “eat up” a healthy amount of calories. In an 18-hole round, the average golfer can burn approximately 1,500 calories. Maintaining a healthy weight leads to even more health advantages, such as reducing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, infertility, arthritis, sleep apnea, and more.

 

Story contributed by Aviv Clinics in Florida and Dubai. Do you have an idea for a story or wish to write for us? Check it out here.


Get Even More Benefits with the Aviv Golf Performance Program

The innovative new Aviv Golf Performance Program takes the natural health benefits of playing golf and your playing abilities to the next level by helping you regain your stamina and optimize your golf game for more years of play. Our program is based upon the Aviv Medical Program, which includes hyperbaric oxygen therapy at its core, plus cognitive and physical training, nutrition coaching, and the industry’s most comprehensive assessments.

The Aviv Golf Performance Program combines our proprietary Aviv Medical Program protocols with professional golf play assessment, technology, and access to world-class fairways at The Villages in central Florida.

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