Is Golf Good Exercise? An Expert Opinion

If you’re looking for a way to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors, golf may be the perfect sport for you.

While it may not seem like the most strenuous activity, golf can provide a surprisingly good workout for your body and mind.

Not only does it require physical exertion, but it also demands mental focus and strategic thinking.

Golf is a low-impact sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. It involves walking, swinging, and carrying or pushing a golf bag, all of which can help improve your cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength, and balance.

According to WebMD, playing a round of golf can burn up to 1,000 calories, depending on factors such as your weight, the course terrain, and whether you walk or ride in a cart.

So, is golf good exercise?

The answer is yes, but with some caveats. While golf can provide a decent workout, it may not be enough on its own to meet all of your fitness goals.

As Harvard Health notes, playing 18 holes of golf is about equal to brisk walking in terms of intensity, but in order to gain the maximum cardiovascular benefit from exercise, you may want to add a day or two of higher-intensity activities, such as running or tennis, to your routine.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Golf as Exercise

When you think of exercise, golf may not be the first sport that comes to mind.

However, golf is a great form of exercise that can provide both physical and mental benefits.

Here are some of the benefits of golf as exercise.

Physical Benefits

Golf requires walking, swinging, and carrying clubs, all of which can provide a good workout.

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According to the World Golf Foundation, walking an 18-hole course burns the same amount of calories as a 5-mile walk.

This makes golf a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the outdoors.

Golf also works several muscle groups, including the arms, shoulders, back, and legs.

golf swing working muscles

The swinging motion of the golf club engages the core muscles, which can improve your balance and stability.

Additionally, golf can improve your flexibility and range of motion, which can help prevent injuries and improve your overall fitness.

If you’re looking to improve your golf game and get a good workout at the same time, there are several exercises you can do to target specific muscle groups.

For example, squats can help improve your swing speed, while planks can help strengthen your core muscles.

Mental Benefits

In addition to the physical benefits, golf can also provide several mental benefits.

Golf requires focus, concentration, and strategy, which can help improve your mental clarity and reduce stress.

The peaceful surroundings of a golf course can also provide a calming effect and help you relax.

Golf is also a social sport, which can provide opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.

The social aspect of golf can help improve your mood and overall well-being.

Overall, golf is a great form of exercise that can provide both physical and mental benefits.

Whether you’re looking to improve your golf game or simply get some exercise, golf is a fun and enjoyable way to stay active.

Factors to Consider

When it comes to determining whether golf is good exercise, there are several factors to consider.

These include the intensity and duration of the activity, your skill level, the equipment you use, and the terrain of the course you play on.

Intensity and Duration

The intensity and duration of your golf game can vary depending on a number of factors, including the course layout, the weather conditions, and your own physical abilities.

While golf may not be as intense as some other forms of exercise, it can still provide a good cardiovascular workout if you walk the course and carry your own clubs.

According to WebMD, walking an 18-hole course can burn up to 1,500 calories, which is equivalent to a 5-mile run or a 2-hour bike ride.

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However, if you ride in a golf cart or use a caddy, you won’t get the same level of exercise.

Skill Level

Your skill level can also affect the amount of exercise you get from playing golf.

If you’re a beginner, you may spend more time searching for lost balls or taking extra shots, which can increase the amount of time you spend on the course but may not necessarily provide a good workout.

On the other hand, if you’re an experienced golfer who plays regularly, you may be able to complete a round more quickly and efficiently, which can increase the intensity of your workout.

Equipment and Course Terrain

The equipment you use and the terrain of the course you play on can also affect the amount of exercise you get from golf.

Carrying your own clubs can provide a good upper body workout, while walking up and down hills can provide a good leg workout.

However, if you use a golf cart or play on a flat course, you won’t get the same level of exercise.

Additionally, playing on a longer course with more hazards and obstacles can provide a greater challenge and increase the intensity of your workout.

Alternatives to Golf

While golf is a great form of exercise, there are many other sports and activities that can provide similar benefits. Strength and cardio training can also be effective in improving your overall fitness.

Here are some alternatives – or add ons – to golf:

Other Sports and Activities

If you’re looking for a sport that provides a similar level of physical and mental exercise as golf, consider trying:

  • Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

These activities can help improve your balance, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health, just like golf.

Strength and Cardio Training

Strength and cardio training can also be effective in improving your overall fitness. Here are some exercises you can try:

Strength TrainingCardio Training
SquatsRunning
DeadliftsCycling
Bench PressJumping Jacks
Push-upsJump Rope

Strength training can help improve your muscle tone, bone density, and overall strength, while cardio training can help improve your cardiovascular health and endurance.

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How does golf contribute to physical fitness?

Golf provides a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, engaging various muscle groups, improving balance, coordination, and flexibility. Walking the course, carrying or pulling the golf bag, and swinging the club all contribute to overall physical fitness.

How many calories can you burn while playing golf?

The number of calories burned during a round of golf depends on various factors such as the individual’s weight, walking speed, and the intensity of the game. On average, walking an 18-hole course can burn between 1,200 to 1,500 calories, while using a golf cart can still burn around 800 to 1,000 calories.

Can golf help improve cardiovascular health?

Yes, golf can help improve cardiovascular health. Walking the course, in particular, provides a low-impact aerobic workout that increases heart rate, strengthens the heart muscles, and improves blood circulation.

Is golf suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels?

Golf is a low-impact sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels. It can be easily adapted to meet an individual’s physical abilities, making it an accessible form of exercise for those with mobility limitations or health conditions.

How can I maximize the health benefits of golf?

To maximize the health benefits of golf, consider walking the course instead of using a cart, carrying or pulling your golf bag, incorporating strength training and flexibility exercises, maintaining proper swing technique, and participating in regular practice sessions.

The 19th Hole

Overall, golf can be a great form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. It provides a low-impact way to improve cardiovascular health, increase strength and flexibility, and enhance mental alertness and concentration.

While it may not burn as many calories as some other forms of exercise, the combination of walking, swinging, and stretching throughout a round of golf can still provide a decent workout.

Plus, the social aspect of the sport can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

If you’re looking to get more out of your golf game, consider incorporating additional exercises and stretches to target specific muscle groups and improve your overall fitness.

And as with any form of exercise, it’s important to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new fitness routine.