Swing "Fore" Fitness
22. June 2011
Are you looking for a way to lose weight that won’t keep you stuck in a sweaty gym or taking the same walk around your neighborhood? Would you like to add a little weight training to your cardio workout? Does adding natural vitamin D to your diet, better sleep to your nighttime and making new friends interest you?
Take a swing at a golf course and all this could be yours! Seriously, golf is not just for out-of-shape guys making business deals while knocking a little white ball around the links. Not anymore! In fact my fabulously fit husband, Tom, has played for years and loves it! As for me, I’m not really feelin’ the love just yet. I’m just a hacker still working on it … but it’s fun! And it’s an activity Tom and I can enjoy together surrounded by the great outdoors.
All that AND it’s a great workout! I was astounded to discover the number of health benefits that come with a round of golf, including:
A challenging cardiovascular workout—Any activity that leaves you slightly short of breath and works up a bit of a sweat is great for your cardiovascular health. Besides lowering harmful cholesterol, a brisk round of golf helps speed up your metabolism, making weight loss easier. My Tom plays San Diego’s Balboa course every Saturday morning and burns upwards of 1,000 calories by carrying his clubs and walking more than four hilly miles.
Proper Exercise—Golf is great for your bones! Weight bearing exercise two to three times a week can create long, lean muscle mass, which helps support a strong skeleton. This type of exercise can also help prevent bone degeneration, including osteoporosis. To include weight bearing in your golf game, follow Tom’s lead and carry your clubs. (A great option to release stress on your shoulders is a double-strapped golf bag.)
Plenty of Vitamin D—This vitamin is essential for strong bones. It regulates calcium and phosphorous in the blood. Vitamin D also helps regulate the growth of skin cells. While taking supplements and eating foods rich in Vitamin D are helpful, your body can actually make all the Vitamin D it needs just by catching some rays outside. So take a walk around your local links and let your body do its work.
Sleep Better—(my personal favorite!) Study after study show regular exercise increases all the positives sleep brings. You’ll fall asleep faster and stay in a deep sleep longer with regular exercise. Playing a round of golf by day will likely increase the quality of your restfulness by night.
Find New Friends—Golf is a social game. There’s plenty of time to chat with old friends and get to know new ones. Tom has made lifelong friends of several guys with whom he’s been randomly paired over the years. Making friends increases endorphins, which help mental outlook and an overall feeling of well being.
So grab your clubs and balls … head out to the golf course and enjoy a day in the sun. And if you need an excuse, just tell your boss it’s for your health!
For more on the “goodness of golf,” check out my interview with golf pro and advocate, Tina Mickelson. The sister of PGA superstar, Phil Mickelson, talks more about the benefits of golf, her passion for the game and how women are teeing it up in greater numbers than ever!
Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.