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The Health Benefits of Golf

With the spring approaching and another season coming in full swing (see what I did there), maybe this is a reminder to start the new hobby you have been saying you wanted to do for a few year.


Golf is one of those sports that you can do for decades. Well physically at least, your patience on the other hand...

I can't confirm or deny I have remained calm on the course for a full 18 holes. But really, it can be a great sport to pick up and if you have the chance to hit the links with your dad, tee off for me, ok?


But for real, as we age and slow down and look for other more connective ways to be active and even spend time with aging parents, golfing can be the thing to explore.


I know I may be biased because it has been something the deeply connected me to my father, but it really is a great sport to take up and also beneficial to swing your club and hit the links for a variety of reasons.





1. Focus and Presence:


Being able to focus on one single aspect at a time, which includes breath work is a form of meditation. We don't necessarily need to be cross-legged at a yoga studio to get connected to the breath, movement and moment. Keeping your breathing steady and focusing on the backswing is an awesome and unique form of meditation with all the same benefits of the more traditional yogic style.


When we breathe intentionally, we are allowing our autonomic nervous system to be in its rest and digest stage, which means our cortisol levels are lower which decreases inflammation in the gut, which improves things like arthritis and boosts our immune system.


2. Time outdoors:


Being away from devices and screen time and trading that for some time in fresh air greatly improves mental health. We are present and not distracted by the stressors of the modern world. And let's not forget, getting vitamin D! The body uses it to absorb minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which keeps bones strong, supports joints and muscles and helps boost the immune system.


3. Social Connections:


We will always need social interactions, even more so as we age. Plus, pandemic isolation deeply impacted so many older adults. Being able to socialize on a regular basis is part of what we need to thrive as humans.


4. Skill Development:


Being able to challenge the brain to learn new skills keeps cellular regeneration fresh and active in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for learning new things. Learning something new helps facilitate dopamine, a pleasure hormone, from facilitating dopamine release, growth of myelin, which helps improve communication, permanent neuron connections, and strengthening of neural pathways. THIS is huge for memory and preventing/slowing down dementia.


5. Increased Mobility & Strength:


Being able to move the body in a variety of planes of motion and including rotational working the shoulders and thoracic spine, strengths the core and balance, which are great ways to improve overall capacity for life activities like, playing with grandkids!


6. Movement:


Playing 9 holes means you are probably walking and moving for about 2 hours, maybe more and obviously double the time for a full round. This is a perfect way to stay active and mobile.


 

I know I may not always be able to crush power cleans and kettle bell snatches, so it is good to vary your routine and keep some options in your arsenal. Hope you can get outside, take a few lessons and enjoy the sport as much I have over the past 35 years.


Happy swinging!

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