Playing golf regularly may increase longevity and reduce the risk of developing heart disease or stroke, researchers claim. A systematic review published in British Journal of Sports Medicine included data from 342 eligible studies and discussions among an international working group of 25 experts in public health and health policy, and industry leaders.
The evidence shows that playing golf regularly is associated with longevity and reducing the risk factors for heart disease or stroke, according to researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the UK. It can boost older people’s strength and balance, they said.
The sport is also associated with good mental health and improving the overall health of those with disabilities, researchers said. Compared with other sports, the risk of injury is moderate, but as it is an outdoor activity, golfers may be more at risk of skin cancer, they said. The sport is often perceived as expensive, male dominated, difficult to learn, and not a game for the young or those on the lower rungs of the social ladder. It needs to be more inclusive and welcoming of people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, and any such initiatives should be supported, researchers said.
“More people might be keen to take it up if golf were promoted as an enjoyable, lifelong outdoors activity that affords a sense of community and competitive challenge while providing some ‘me time’ as well as helping to fulfill recommended exercise quotas,” they said. The sport can do its bit for sustainability by “practices that prioritize diversity, healthy societies, connection with, and care of, the environment, environmental integrity and health and well being,” the researchers said.