It will never be a bad time to start caring for and prioritizing your health. From eating nutrient dense foods, to getting enough sleep and exercise, there is a lot you can do to benefit your overall wellbeing. Caring for your physical and mental health will provide many benefits and increase your overall quality of life, so let’s look at the game of golf and how you can improve your health while having fun!
Golf is a great workout for all ages and abilities. For those who are able to walk the course, you’ll be walking around 4-5 miles total (maybe more if you are like me and end up roaming around the rough looking for your ball way too often) and for those who aren’t able to walk the length of the course, taking a cart is a great option as you’ll still get steps in walking to the tee box, walking to your ball if it’s in a location you can not drive your cart to or walking to the green.
Although being mindful of caloric intake is important when taking charge of your health, it should not be a major priority when focusing on overall health. Things like nutrient dense foods and quality physical activity are much more important than counting calories for most people. As an example eating 100 calories of strawberries are much more beneficial than eating 100 calories of jelly beans. But for those who are paying attention to calories an 18-hole round of golf could burn anywhere from 600-1400 calories. This obviously depends on a few different factors, are you walking? Taking a golf cart? Keeping your cart on the cart path and walking to your ball? Using a push cart or carrying your clubs? Is the golf course flat or hilly? In addition, any activity that gets your body moving, gets your muscles stretching and gets you outside will benefit your physical and mental health.
Another great benefit of golf is that it is time spent in the great outdoors. Breathing fresh, oxygenated outside air has a number of benefits to our lungs and our overall health. When I am on the course, I spend a few minutes during my round practicing belly breathing to help strengthen my diaphragm and lungs, but also to help clear the “crud” (as my herbalist friend calls it) out of the lungs. Every cell in your body needs oxygen to thrive, so proper breathing and fresh air benefits our whole body. Check out this article to learn how to properly do belly breathing and next time you’re on the course take a big deep breath of that fresh country air!
Fresh air is not the only benefit to spending time in the outdoors. The sun is one of our best sources of Vitamin D. Evidence suggests that vitamin D may prevent against certain cancers and improve cognitive health, it also promotes cell growth, helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus to help maintain bone mass, reduces inflammation, improves immune function, increases mood and supports neuromuscular function. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to many issues, but perhaps right now the most alarming vitamin D deficiency increased risk and susceptibility to respiratory infection, including COVID-19. It’s estimated that somewhere around 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, which is why it’s so important to take responsibility for your health, spend time in the outdoors, eat right and if you suspect you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, talk to your doctor. They may suggest a nutrient panel so you can see if you have the proper amounts of vital nutrients.
And lastly, what is a round of golf without a delicious snack? At Honeybrook we try to offer a variety of snacks and meal options. Next time you are out enjoying the course, opt for trail mix, a granola bar or some fresh fruits and veggies instead of chips or a chocolate bar. Stay hydrated by drinking water instead of sugary sports drinks and sodas. After your round stop in at the Greenside Grill! We have many options available, including gluten free and vegan options for those on restricted diets. My personal favorite is the Warm Brussels Sprout Salad!
In conclusion, there are a lot of health benefits to golf. Making healthy choices like walking if you are able and enjoying nutritional snacks and staying hydrated with water is a great way to make a fun day of golf even more beneficial for your health.