Most seniors struggle with excess weight and the aches and pains associated with old age. There aren’t many fitness programs out there uniquely designed for the complex challenges of old age. These challenges are not just physical but also involve an overall drop in morale and confidence. Can golfing help? Is golf good exercise for seniors?
Yes, golfing builds strength and flexibility in the muscles of the player. It is an excellent way for seniors to keep in shape, maintain balance and flexibility, and tone some muscles. Including those of the hips, the core, the arms, and the upper back. Strengthening these muscles will enhance your quality of life and the ability to live independently for longer.
Benefits of Golfing as an Exercise for Seniors
Golfing is synonymous with retirement. With no more deadlines and KPIs giving you sleepless nights, you will have time and energy for exercise. The reason why most seniors enjoy golfing include but are not limited to:
1. It is a Source of Mental Stimulation
Being old shouldn’t mean an end to your critical thinking, focus, and strategy. Golf is a mentally involving game and offers a chance for you to keep your brain younger. Golf is not just about bending and hitting balls. It requires focus, coordination, and the weighing of options.
Your concentration is not the only thing that improves when you play golf as a senior; your quality of life may begin to change, fast. The moments where you have to make up your mind quickly increases your neural firing. Your mental wiring changes inclination from ‘unexcited’ to ‘adventurous.’
2. Friends and Happiness go Together
Several studies I have come across show that seniors with friends live longer. There must be some truth in that if you compare the quality of life of a lonely senior versus a social and well-connected adult. When you get out often as a senior to play golf, the time you spend with friends could help you prevent chronic illnesses.
Plus, as you age, you need friends even more. Some people in retirement are at risk of social isolation. Golfing can change that and help you feel like a part of something larger.
3. Physical Stimulation Releases Feel-good Hormones
The feel-good hormones, also known as endorphins in medical corridors, are directly linked to physical activities. Although you can get some good feelings from coffee or tea, the impact on average will be so brief. Physical exercise is a guaranteed mood enhancer. After the rush of good emotions during the workout, confidence, a sense of achievement, and a stress-free disposition will remain with you for a long time.
That’s not to say that golf is all a happy affair. It can be frustrating if you miss the putt or swing and miss. You would have to check your frustrations during the game for you to get back on track the next.
4. It works Out the Leg Muscles
Golf exercise is good for the ankles. The stretching involved as you bend to the required stance boosts balance and stability around the ankles. The activity similarly involves calf raises that help to strengthen and make flexible the surrounding muscles.
Other leg muscles that a golfer works out during the game include the quadriceps. These muscles help to turn the hips and give a mighty swing of the club. Working out these muscles builds flexibility and posture. You will also have the ability to maintain a straight gait. Avid senior golfers can often walk without supports and have an impressive standing ability even as their years advance.
5. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Golf is a significant cardio workout as it involves a lot of walking and swinging. These actions will get your heart rate up and increase the speed of calorie burning. Blood circulation will subsequently improve and cause a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, from stroke to hypertension and heart attacks.
6. It strengthens the Core
The core is another set of muscles involved in a golf swing. Every golf stance, rotation, and swing improves stability around your torso. The more you do the exercise, the more your core becomes strong and flexible.
7. It is good for the Shoulders
Your shoulders are engaged in creating a swing that is powerful yet controlled. Golfers that spend many days playing golf build sturdy rotator cuffs and other muscles of the shoulder. Maintaining a controlled yet powerful swing is critical for success in the game.
Strong shoulders can help you with everyday life, including lifting items. That means that golfing adults may have the ability to keep living independently with minimal assistance. That sense of freedom and self-confidence are two vital ingredients for a happy retirement.
8. Improves Forearm Strength
You need stronger forearms to generate a powerful swing. If you lack forearm strength, it would be challenging to keep a flat wrist through impact. It would similarly be hard to power through bad lies because that needs an even greater force. From the wrist to the triceps and biceps, arm strength is critical in the golfing game, but the benefits of that often spill into the general life of the player.
Strengthening the arms helps to:
- Improve bone mass and prevent the risk of fractures and injuries
- Tone the arm muscles to reduce flabbiness
- Improve senior’s ability to perform day to day living activities unassisted
9. Golfing is Good for the Hips
Studies conducted on golfing and senior life showed that the sport majorly strengthened the hip and the gluteus Maximus. The latter is a group of butt muscles responsible for hip rotation during the backswing and downswing, and hip extension needed for the excellent posture in your finish.
Working out your hips in this manner increases your range of motion when walking. The flexibility in your hips will add some youthful strength in your stride, and your bones and joints will have a lower risk of arthritis.
10. The Upper Back
Your upper back muscles are essential in everyday life. From maintaining posture to lifting items, these muscles play crucial roles in daily living. Seniors need regular back exercises to maintain spinal strength and flexibility.
During golf, upper back muscles get worked out in the swing. They help to control the swing throughout the club’s movement. Tight upper back muscles often lead to a poor backswing and failure to follow through the ball.
11. Golf has a Low Risk of Injuries
A young person reading this would think, “ok, I can build all these muscles with a short session at the gym.” It’s different for adults over 50, given the body’s increased propensity for injuries. Unless you are working with a highly skilled personal trainer. Weight lifting and other gym routines may lead to severe injuries if incorrectly performed.
As for golf, it’s a medium low-impact exercise. It is mostly cardio and not to a level that your body cannot handle. The game involves a lot of stretching, posture, and balancing. Golfing is an enjoyable sport and, therefore, naturally builds a workout consistency for you, something that a gym goer would need a lot of discipline to master.
12. You get to Sleep Better at Night
Golfing beats staying at home, drinking coffee, and watching TV all day. With these activities, you will be ready for sleep at the end of the day. As a senior, the lack of sleep can drastically deteriorate your health and put you at risk of illnesses.
Older adults that play golf are usually nicely tired by nightfall so that they fall asleep fast and sleep through the night. During deep sleep, their cells repair worn-out muscles and tissues. They wake up even stronger and feeling refreshed.
13. Golfing Reduces Stress
Like other physical exercises or sports, one would expect golf to be a stress buster. Yes, it is. Golfing is exciting and can help adults forget their troubles. The game requires focus, coordination, and balance, and therefore achieves the same benefits as yoga and meditation.
There is also great pleasure in being out in the open in serene environments. Most of the worries and ailments that accompany old age are a result of nature deficit. Studies show that being in natural surroundings improves mood and can help to curb the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Golf does you one better; it gives you friends to spend time with.
14. Weight Loss
Young people have plenty of ways and abilities to burn calories and blast away fat deposits. What’s an older person to do? Treacherous hiking trails are out of the question, and HIIT circuits are a no-no. Golfing has the answers.
An 18 hole round in the sport involves around 6 miles of walking. You get to burn plenty of calories in the process, especially on an undulating course. You also burn many more calories in your golf stance and swing. Golfing for senior weight loss beats gym workout every day because it’s enjoyable and easy to stick to.
Golfing is an Ideal Physical Exercise for Seniors
As a senior, you need to get out more often and get fresh air. You need to stay active without putting yourself through excessive exertion and unnecessary pressure on your body. Golf offers an opportunity for a moderate workout and a chance to improve the quality of senior life by spending time with friends and family.