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Playing golf can add years to your life, prevent heart disease and dementia


Golf

(NaturalNews) Research has long confirmed that physical exercise keeps you healthier for longer by dramatically reducing your chances of developing chronic disease. Now, it seems, it has been proved that one particular physical activity – golf – can stave off heart disease and dementia, reports the UK's Daily Mail.

Many golfers might tell you that the game can dramatically increase your anger and frustration levels, but in reality the sport is a life-extender, not a "good walk spoiled," as renowned author Mark Twain once described it. Following a major review of the game's health benefits, researchers now believe that it provides significant physical and mental value for players of all ages and backgrounds.

Researchers examined findings from 5,000 studies that analyzed the associations between golf and improved health. Their macro-study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, concluded that playing the game bolsters heart health, improves arterial and lung function, and has an overall positive effect on metabolism.

Better health for all ages

In addition, scientists involved in the study believe that golf may also help those who suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, breast and bowel cancers, and the after-effects of stroke.

Researchers also noted that the physical benefits provided by playing golf increase with age, as older players experienced improved stamina and balance.

"We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer," said lead scientist Dr. Andrew Murray, of the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

He went on to say that the evidence seems to suggest that golfers can live longer and more productive lives than people who don't play. And he said that golfers tend to enjoy improvements in their cholesterol levels, overall wellness, body composition, self-worth and self-esteem.

Murray also said that because anyone at any age can play golf, the game's health benefits are not limited to any particular demographic. "Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old," he said, "this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages."

Researchers said that the study showed that a round of golf – 18 holes – led to the burning of at least 500 calories. Golfers who walk the course typically cover about 8 miles during their round; those who ride in golf carts tend to cover about half that distance.

And while many people can get frustrated by the level of play, the study found that any added anxiety may be offset by the physical aspects of the game, which can also help relieve depression and stem dementia, scientists found.

Previous studies have found similar health benefits

The study was conducted as part of the Golf and Health Project, which is led by the World Golf Foundation. There is further research planned, and it will likely focus more on the effects of golf on mental health, balance and muscle strengthening.

Padraig Harrington, a professional golfer from Ireland, and the European vice-captain at the recently played 2016 Ryder Cup, an annual contest between pros from Europe and the United States, said that the project "is clearly taking an important step forward to shine a light on the benefits of our sport."

He added that he has personally seen how the sport positively impacts players' well-being and health. Now, he said, "it's time to get this message out there," the Daily Mail reported.

The results of this macro study are in line with similar results from earlier studies. In 2008, for instance, Natural News reported that a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports collated and analyzed data from 300,000 golfers in Sweden, finding that mortality rates for golfers were 40 percent lower than those of non-golfers, leading to an increased life expectancy of five years.

Sources:

DailyMail.co.uk

NaturalNews.com

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

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