He’s the former world number one who’s had a string of notable career setbacks, including back surgery, but yesterday, Tiger Woods staged one of the greatest career comebacks in sporting history.
The 43-year-old golfer sensationally won his fifth Masters, snapping up his first major title in 11 years.
Just two years ago, Woods had fallen to 1,199 in the world rankings, but yesterday’s performance at Augusta proved the champ is firmly back on top.
Golf is often an overlooked sport when it comes to health and fitness. Sure, it might not have the same level of intensity as a cardio class, but the subtle muscle-toning benefits are not to be sniffed at.
If you’re feeling inspired to play a round of 18 holes, here are just a few compelling reasons to dust off your clubs…
1. Mental wellbeing
When you’ve had a busy or stressful week, there’s no better antidote than spending a sunny Saturday morning being in the peaceful serenity of a golf course. Studies have found that spending time in nature and greenery can have a positive effect on our mental health too, reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
2. Brain stimulation
Golf is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Playing 18 holes can take around four hours, and during that time, you’re constantly assessing the physics of the course, so you can try to manoeuvre the ball into the hole in as few shots as possible. The belief that ‘exercising’ our brains can reduce the possibility of dementia is still up for debate, but regardless of whether it does or not, learning new skills is a good way to keep your mind active.
3. Burns calories
While golf might not be a strenuous sport, walking between holes, carrying your golf bag and swinging your club are all activities that burn calories. A full, 18-hole round of golf involves covering a lot of ground on foot – which can amount to around five miles in total. Golf can be a great LISS training activity alongside heavier workout methods – a steady cardiovascular type of exercise where you keep the intensity low, but your efforts consistent.
4. Improve muscle tone
Upper body strength is a vital component of golfing, as strong golfers can hit the ball further than their opponents. The good news is that the more balls you swing at, the more you work your shoulders and arms, and the better you get at the game. If you’re serious about getting good at the sport, it’s a good idea to practise bicep curls, dips and push-ups between games, to help enhance your upper body strength and mobility.
Golf is a non-contact sport that’s pretty gentle on the body, as it’s played on grass. People recovering from injury or older players often find this attractive, as they can burn calories without any major risk.
6. It’s proven to be beneficial
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh reviewed 5,000 studies into golf and wellbeing. The study concluded that practitioners and policymakers should be encouraged to support more people to play golf, due to the positive mental and physical effects.
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or you’ve never hit a ball in your life, there’s one major thing going for golf – it’s fun and sociable.
So, if you’re not a fan of the idea of sweating it out solo in the gym, then give golf a go – it’s is a great way to pack in some exercise without even knowing it.