Golf is more than a fun way to socialize and get outdoors. There are a slew of health benefits for seniors who golf, including increased flexibility and strength. If you've never golfed before, you might take a class to learn the basics. An instructor can help you get off to a good start and reduce the risk of injury by showing you how to swing with the proper form. Golfing for health isn't about having the lowest score: It's about having fun and getting exercise at the same time.
Swinging the club helps build your muscles and improve your range of motion, while walking the course helps with endurance training. If you're not able to walk the whole course initially, just do what you can and gradually add more walking each time you play. If you're golfing with friends, you can take turns driving the cart or walking so you get in some cardiovascular exercise without overdoing it.
It's a good idea to warm up your body before you play a round of golf and to do a few stretches for the hips, calves and upper body afterward to help prevent injury and improve your game.
For more articles on health and exercise, check out the links below.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise." April 12, 2010. (May 11, 2011) http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/health_benefits_water_exercise.html#sixteen
- Funkenbusch, Karen and Willard Downs. "Tips and Techniques for The Senior Gardener." University of Missouri Agricultural Engineering Extension. (May 11, 2011) http://agrability.missouri.edu/gardenweb/Senior.html
- Government of Western Australia Department of Transport. "Cycling Fact Sheet No. 23." (May 11, 2011) www.transport.wa.gov.au/cycling_seniors.pdf
- Howarth, Gina. "The health benefits of golf for seniors." Warwick Beacon. June 1, 2007. (May 11, 2011) http://warwickonline.com/view/full_story/1479012/article-The-health-benefits-of-golf-for-seniors
- Kovatch, Sarah et al. "Senior Exercise and Fitness Tips." HelpGuide. March 2010. (May 5, 2011) http://www.helpguide.org/life/senior_fitness_sports.htm
- Lifescript. "The Health Benefits of Swimming." Aug. 2, 2006. (May 11, 2011) http://www.lifescript.com/body/shape/workout/the_endless_health_benefits_of_swimming.aspx
- Mature Fitness. "Safe Exercise Practices." (May 5, 2011) http://www.seniorfitness.net/safe.htm
- Mayo Clinic. "Slide show: Golf stretches for a more fluid swing." April 30, 2011. (May 5, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/golf-stretches/SM00089
- Medline Plus. "Exercise for Seniors." U.S. National Library of Medicine. (May 5, 2011) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/exerciseforseniors.html
- National Institute on Aging. "Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit For Life." National Institutes of Health. May 28, 2010. (May 5, 2011) http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/exercise.htm
- National Institute on Aging. "Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging." National Institutes of Health. Oct. 20, 2010. (May 5, 2011) http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/ExerciseGuide/
- National Institute on Aging. "Sample Exercises -- Flexibility." Nov. 11, 2009. (May 11, 2011) http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/ExerciseGuide/04e_flexibility.htm
- Rainwater, Harold L. "Walk Your Way to Fitness." Mature Fitness. (May 5, 2011) http://www.seniorfitness.net/walk.htm
- Sarnataro, Barbara Russi. "Tai Chi Exercises Both Mind and Body." WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. June 23, 2006. (May 11, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/tai-chi-health
- Smith, Michael W. "Hate the Gym? Work Out in Water." MedicineNet. June 25, 2002. (May 11, 2011) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50895
- Weil, Richard. "Walking." MedicineNet. (May 11, 2011) http://www.medicinenet.com/walking/article.htm
- Westcott, Wayne L. "Strength Training Update." Mature Fitness. (May 5, 2011) http://www.seniorfitness.net/strengt2.htm
- Yoga Journal. "Good Old Yoga." May 24, 2010. (May 5, 2011) http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2010/05/good-old-yoga.html
HowStuffWorks looks at a study showing just one hour of vigorous activity a week can keep seniors mobile and active.