When you think of playing a round of golf, you may be quick to think that it’s only the physical exercise you will see benefits from. But with the help of scientific research, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that golf can also be incredibly beneficial for improving your overall wellbeing.
Before you just think about the step count, here are the seven ways that golf has been proven to help your spirit feel lifted and your mind feel a little clearer.
1. Reduces stress and depression
The beauty of golf is that you get to spend hours in some of the most scenic locations in the world. Whether you enjoy playing in the UK or taking a round while you’re on holiday, no matter the place, you can be guaranteed an idyllic setting that feels like a retreat for the mind.
Being amongst nature and breathing in fresh air can truly work wonders, not only has it been found to help alleviate stress symptoms, but it’s also been discovered that being outside can reduce inflammation in the body, eliminate fatigue and reduce anxiety.
2. Supports social connections
Golf is an extremely social sport, and as it’s best played with others, hitting the course with friends can give you an extra boost to your mental health beyond the laughs.
As well as playing with people you know, you are often introduced to other like-minded individuals, which supports us in helping to make friends and enhance our relationships.
In turn, this can dramatically help you to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness. In fact, The World Health Organisation has even found that positive social interactions are vital in protecting us from developing mental health problems.
3) Improves mental clarity
In a world where we are constantly being bombarded with information, our brains can struggle to manage and lead your mind to feel cluttered, distracted, and generally on-edge.
This inner mental chatter can be detrimental to your wellbeing, but golf can significantly help ease the noise.
While meditation is often recommended to quieten the noise, golf has also been found to help us focus on the moment and be present. Rather than being in overdrive and thinking about the next thing, or worrying about things that may happen, the mind is purely focussed on the shot at hand.
In fact, golf is an active practice of mindfulness because it demands focus and attention, allowing you to simply be within your surroundings and enjoy the moment.
4. Boosts self-esteem
Feeling confident doesn’t come naturally to many people, and can become a real problem. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re less likely to push forward with your goals and more likely to experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
However, golf can significantly help to turn these feelings around.
When you begin to see your fitness levels increase and improvements in your technique, it can give you an incredible sense of achievement.
Taking the opportunity to learn something new and then beginning to achieve even the smallest goals, you will soon begin to feel more confident, and it can spark a positive attitude.
5. Increases relaxation
You may not immediately associate golf with relaxation, but as a less strenuous form of exercise playing a round of golf has a gentle effect on both mind and body.
As well as feeling calm when enjoying the game, it’s been proven that moving around for five to six hours before bedtime raises the body’s core temperature. However, when the temperature drops back to its relative state it signals to the body that it’s time to sleep. This then allows for a restful nights sleep that can dramatically help improve your sense of well-being and happiness.
6. Raises your happy chemicals
No matter the exercise, it’s a proven fact that when you take part in physical activities such as golf for more than 30 minutes your body releases a chemical called endorphins.
Endorphins create a feeling of happiness and euphoria, which in turn helps reduce your perception of pain and enables you to have a more positive outlook on life.
By playing golf once or even a few times a week, you can raise your happy chemicals on a more regular basis, which then allows you to feel more uplifted.
Shifting your mindset in this way enables you to have a better sense of wellbeing, as you’re less likely to sit on negative thoughts.
7. Provides a sense of fun
When was the last time you had a really good laugh?
The fact is, having a game of golf with some of your friends can help you to put aside your responsibilities and just have fun.
The sense of fun is something that as adults we’re bad at prioritising, as we put others before ourselves and put pressure on ourselves to be responsible. Yet, the element of fun is incredibly important in our lives as it helps us to avoid anxiety, depression, and stages of discomfort.
Having fun can uplift you and ensure you don’t take life too seriously.