According to the American Heart Institute, preliminary research by a stroke institute shows that playing golf at least once per month lowers the risk of death among older adults.
The study concluded that golf provides benefits such as stress reduction and exercise. And, due to its social nature and controlled pace, people often maintain motivation and the ability to continue playing golf even in older age and after suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Out of almost 5,900 participants, average age 72, researchers identified 384 golfers. During follow-up, 8.1% of the golfers had suffered strokes and 9.8% of the golfers had heart attacks. When comparing death rates among golfers and non-golfers, researchers found a significantly lower rate of death among golfers compared to non-golfers, 15.1% compared to 24.6%, respectively.
“While walking and low intensity jogging may be comparable exercise, they lack the competitive excitement of golf,” said Adnan Qureshi, M.D., lead author and executive director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.
“Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health,” said Qureshi. “Another positive is that older adults can continue to play golf, unlike other more strenuous sports such as football, boxing and tennis. Additional positive aspects are stress relief and relaxation, which golf appears better suited for than other sports.”