(NaturalNews) Fancy a swinging lifestyle? A study conducted by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has revealed that the mortality rate of people who played golf was 40% lower than non-golfing counterparts of the same gender, age and socioeconomic status. This corresponds to a higher life expectancy of 5 years.
The Karolinska Institutet is said to be one of the top medical universities in Europe, and its Nobel Assembly awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine each year.
Details of the Swedish Study
The study, which was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, had collated and analyzed information from 300,000 golfers in Sweden. Overall, the impact on life expectancy was found to be higher among blue-collar workers, as supposed to white-collar ones.
The researchers in the study did not rule out the possibility that other positive lifestyle habits may have played a part in the overall improvement in life expectancy among golfers, although they also believed that the contribution made by actually playing golf was significant.
This assertion is supported by the finding that golfers with the lowest handicap, in other words those who were better at the game, enjoyed lower mortality rates. This follows from the general assumption that it takes more playing time to reach a higher level of proficiency in the game, which, broadly speaking, should hold true.
Exercise and Longevity
Many studies have already drawn the link between physical activity and longevity. For example, findings from an analysis of data from the Shanghai Women's Health Study (1997-2004), conducted by the Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in June 2007, provided evidence that overall levels of physical activity, including both exercise and general lifestyle habits (such as cycling for transportation), was an important factor for life expectancy.
Another study conducted by the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, Japan and published in the Annals of Epidemiology in July 2008, looked at data collected from over 83,000 Japanese men. It concluded that higher levels of daily physical activity, whether from one's occupation, daily chores or recreation, could help to prevent premature death.
This, however, may well be one of the first times, if not the first time, that the link between longevity and a specific form of physical activity, in this case golf, was so closely studied.
Golf – more than just physical exercise
And, as far as golf is concerned, it may be more than just the physical exercise which provides the life-extending health benefits. Professor Anders Ahlbom, one of the researchers in the study, said, "A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for six to seven kilometres, something which is known to be good for health."
"People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help," he added.
This study certainly provides good news for avid golfers, as well as extra motivation for those considering taking their first swing.
In any case, it is a good idea for all of us, young and old, men and women, healthy or unwell, to start a regular regime of physical exercise. Not only would that help to extend our quantity of life, it would also improve our quality of life, in the form of better health and vitality.