The next time you are seeking a hall pass from family or work to play golf, keep this little nugget in your back pocket:
Golfers live longer. No, really.
The latest evidence is in a study that will be released later this month. But CNN received a preview and reported the findings. Predictably, they chose to take a political angle as the lede. Let's breeze past that and go straight to the experts:
When comparing death rates among golfers and non-golfers, researchers found that golfers had a more than 8% lower death rate (from all causes) than non-golfers. While playing golf hasn't been shown to reduce risk of heart attack and stroke, golf as a protective factor against early death risk is a suitable activity option for older adults due to its low impact and relaxed nature.
Reports surface of the health benefits fairly regularly - thanks in part to the walking, the sunshine, the nature, the camraderie and even some competition - all things human beings crave and golf can supply.
"While walking and low intensity jogging may be comparable exercise, they lack the competitive excitement of golf. Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health," Qureshi said.
This is by no means the first report to conclude golfers have a chance to live longer. In 2016, an Edinburgh study found golfers lived on average five years longer than non-golfers. It also said playing golf could help those who suffer chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and even colon and breast cancer. That is not a claim the most recent study supports, however.
GolfandHealth.org. supported by the World Golf Foundation, has outlined numerous benefits backed by studies in recent years. Among them:
- Mental health: Physical activity (such as golf) is known to be effective in treating mild-moderate depression
- Physical health: Golf may help reduce the risk of falls and help older people live independently
- Social health: Golf has been shown to enhance interaction between different generations, and has been proven to provide opportunities to enhance social connections.
- Attending a live golf event has shown an average of over 11,500 steps per day.
With various municipalities across the globe struggling with what to do about their golf facilities in the red, it could be reassuring to city health officials that these public spaces, while money losers, are at least having a positive impact on the health of its residents.