Golfers & Longevity
We know that physical inactivity (i.e. NOT being active) kills millions of people around the world each year. We also know that golf is considered a great form of physical activity, with golfers often taking upwards of 12,000 steps per round. So could playing golf reduce the risk of an early death?!
The best evidence, taken from a Swedish study and others, shows that playing golf may indeed lead to increased life expectancy, with golfers living over 5 years longer than non golfers . This link was observed by comparing 300,000 golfers to non-golfers, and importantly, was found to exist regardless of age, gender or socio-economic status. So no matter our backgrounds, we could all benefit!
As our public health colleagues have demonstrated too, doing something is better than nothing, and the benefits still apply regardless of age – so you are never too old to start! With golf contributing more to overall physical activity levels in older adults relative to younger counterparts, golf is a great way to increase physical activity in the more mature, and can help this group (who are usually less active than younger adults) reach or exceed the minimum recommendations for physical activity levels.
Encouragingly too in this age group, where falls are more common (and more risky), golf has also been linked with improved balance, muscular function & strength – whilst female caddies also show better bone health compared to the normal female population. All this shows that there are vast benefits to picking up the clubs, and that age is not an excuse!!