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Fore! The Benefits of Golf for Healthy Aging

April 15, 2022

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Golf is a sport growing in popularity, and for a good reason. According to the National Golf Foundation, 37.5 million Americans played golf in 2021. This number includes individuals who played full 18-hole games of golf as well as those who practiced their swings at driving ranges or participated on golf simulators.

Why are so many people suddenly taking up the sport? Well, there are many benefits of golf, especially for aging adults. What was once viewed as an elitist sport is now something everyone can enjoy and reap the benefits of, regardless of experience or skill level. Our team at Franciscan Ministries is sharing some of these benefits.

Encourages Socialization

Socialization is as much a part of leading a healthy lifestyle as maintaining a balanced diet or getting enough exercise. However, as we age, our risk of becoming socially isolated or experiencing feelings of loneliness can increase due to a variety of factors. 

Connecting and interacting with others is a significant factor in maintaining our overall wellness, making socialization opportunities such a positive benefit of golf. The game of golf is the perfect excuse to engage with others, and the game’s pace allows for conversation and interaction.

Since it can be a longer game, it allows individuals to set specific or regular times to play with friends and family, providing a more routine solution to combating social isolation and loneliness. 

Keeps You Active

Even though golf is not as intense as running a marathon or other aerobic activities, it gets your heart rate up. Also, how you choose to navigate the course impacts how much exercise you get. 

For example, the Medical Guardian states, “walking 18 holes equals about four miles.” Now add in either carrying, pushing or pulling your clubs for those 18 holes. That is quite a lot of exercise without even swinging a club or hitting a ball!

Obviously, this is assuming that you forego the use of a golf cart. However, if you choose to drive through the course, you will still benefit from the physical activity of swinging your clubs and walking some shorter distances.

Promotes Brain Health

Keeping the mind active and engaged is essential to promoting brain health. By challenging and stimulating your brain, you can improve your cognitive functioning and delay decline. Another one of the benefits of golf is that it can help with this.

Golf requires critical thinking, problem solving and strategy, and individuals who play the game regularly use all of these skills, which keep their minds sharp.

Additionally, because a traditional round of golf takes place outdoors, it provides other mental health benefits such as reducing stress. Spending time in nature, like on a scenic golf course, is a great way to relax and signals your body to release endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone. 

“Golf courses are usually very scenic and relaxing places, which can help lower your stress levels and boost your mental health (Medical Guardian).”

Provides a Sense of Purpose

We all need something to look forward to and something to work toward. Another benefit of golf is providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment for older adults. 

For example, when you plan to play a round of golf with a friend, you know they are counting on you. This creates accountability and gives you a sense of purpose. 

Additionally, you can constantly improve no matter what skill level you are. By setting goals for yourself, whether it is to earn a specific score on a particular course or not to go over a specified number of strokes on a certain hole, you will have a sense of accomplishment when you reach that goal.

Golf is not a sport limited only to professional players. Instead, it is something that anyone can enjoy and reap the benefits of. In fact, many of our Franciscan Ministries’ senior living communities throughout Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are near golf courses that residents and guests enjoy!

To find the right community for you or someone you love, or to learn more about our services and what we have to offer, we invite you to visit our website or contact a member of the Franciscan Ministries team.