Getting fit, feeling good and staying healthy

Four ways golf brings your fitness up to par


Comments (41)

Want to exercise more? Don’t limit your options to a gym membership — consider golf. It has more health benefits than you think.

Get your fitness up to par with golfHere are four ways hitting the links can have a positive impact on your overall health:

1. You’ll walk lots

If you leave the cart at the pro shop and walk with your clubs, golf is an excellent cardiovascular and strength-bearing activity.

“Golf is a better workout than most people think because you’re moving for four to five hours during an 18-hole round,” says Gary Ng, a Vancouver-based avid golfer and founder of the Vancouver Golf Review website. “If you’re not a fan of walking, golf will make it fun. It’s a great way to build stamina and endurance.”

Just be sure to limber up before heading out for a round, says Dr. Michael Chivers, a kinesiologist, acupuncturist and sports specialist chiropractor in Thornhill, Ont. A proper warm-up includes stretching, hitting balls and practising chipping and putting to ensure optimum performance and reduce the risk of injury.

2. You’ll get a good dose of vitamin D

While this is a benefit of being active outdoors, just be sure to take appropriate measures to protect yourself. Apply sunscreen frequently, wear a hat and sunglasses, and bring along a water bottle.

“Golf requires constant hydration, since you’re out exercising for a majority of the day and burning a lot of calories,” says Ng, who notes that lack of hydration can not only make you feel bad, it can affect your game. “Make sure you eat and drink properly to stay mentally sharp as you approach each hole.”

3. You’ll feel great

Chivers says that awesome feeling that comes with hitting a good shot or making a long putt is actually good for you. “This causes an endorphin release, which is important for overall health,” he says.

4. Improvement takes time, so you’ll practise constantly

Players are always trying to improve their game, whether by chipping or putting, or trying to shoot a lower score overall.

“Golf is a game that takes a lifetime to learn,” says Ng. “It forces you to challenge yourself to get better. The most rewarding part is seeing improvement in your game through good practice on the course.”

To help with this improvement, Chivers recommends golfers take lessons from a golf pro to have their swings analyzed. “From a biomechanical perspective this will allow potential ‘swing faults’ to be identified. The pro can then make recommendations on their correction,” says Chivers. Golf pros work at most golf courses and can also be found at many driving ranges.

Chivers also recommends new golfers get a physical examination from a family doctor and visit a chiropractor or physiotherapist who specializes in assessing and managing golfers. These professionals will work through a detailed screen of your body, including an assessment of joint mobility, strength and flexibility, focusing on the lower back and trunk, as well as the shoulders — the two most-often injured areas in golfers. From there, they will recommend either a home exercise or stretching program.

For more smart fitness tips, read:

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Wildly Fit is Proudly Canadian | Wildly Fit on

[…] Brighter Life is a website brought to you by Sunlife Financial, “sharing ideas about money, health and family.” I don’t think you even understand how passionate I am about budgeting and financial freedom (maybe a post for the future).  The site has lots of free tools you can use and a whole bunch of awesome health content, like this article – Four ways golf brings your fitness up to par. […]

Golfadvocate on

Pace of play is an issue almost everywhere. Maybe it’s time to adopt the handicap-based tee box system. In other words, the tees you play from is based on your handicap not your ego. Numerous courses are implementing this in the States and other countries and early reports indicate an improvement in pace of play.

Duffer on

I am a lifelong golfer. I am 67 years of age and still love the challenge of the game. Golf is best played by walking the course. You stay warm, your muscles are more relaxed, depending on the course’s terrain you get cardiovascular exercise, and mentally you are better prepared for your next shot while walking. Forget using a cart. Golf can be frustrating but it is always good fun with friends. I hope to drop dead on the 18th green having shot my age. Fore!

Northwest on

I think it’s true that golf ruins a good walk.

Bill McCollam on

I was reading the other day that golf was becoming less and less popular in Canada mainly because of the time commitment for a round… e.g. 5+ hours. I think we should all have to stop at about 75 strokes… I could probably be done in 3 hours.

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