International Golf News    16th Jul, 2021 by ukclubgolfer.co.uk

New study focuses on health benefits of golf for elderly 

Study reveals golf can improve quality of life through muscle strengthening.

 An international research study backed by the R&A has found new evidence to suggest golf can provide significant health benefits to older participants in the form of improved muscle strength and balance. 

Such exercises form an important part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended guidelines to tackle physical inactivity in older people. The ‘Strength and Balance Study’, carried out with two sample groups over two years by professor Maria Stokes OBE at the University of Southampton and Dr George Salem at the University of Southern California (USC), has indicated that older golfers have and develop strength and balance benefits. 

Underlining the sport’s capability to improve the physical health of participants, the evidence suggests golf can improve quality of life through muscle strengthening, improved balance, aerobic exercise (equivalent to gym-based work or yoga) and social interaction. 

It also found that golfers under the age of 80 had better strength and balance than sedentary non-golfers of similar ages, whilst golfers had better dynamic balance and static balance than non-golfers. The strength of limb muscles and balance, meanwhile, were better in golfers than non-golfers, indicative through gripping and swinging a club, walking, squatting and such like.  

The study also found that physical demands recorded during a golf round were equivalent to or greater than the demands for other common activities, such as gym work or yoga, whilst participants benefited from green space, social interaction and walking over hilly terrain. 

“The findings indicate that golf is associated with health benefits related to better muscle strength and balance,” said professor Maria Stokes. “This suggests golf may meet WHO recommendations for older people, which could qualify golf for social prescription and exercise referral schemes to help manage health conditions.” 


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