Looking for a way to get out in the fresh air more often? Here’s why golf is the perfect sport to take you outdoors.
For many of us, the last few years have highlighted a need to invest in our own health more seriously than we have in the past. For some, that involves making drastic lifestyle changes. For others, it may be as simple as getting outdoors more often and enjoying life a little more!
If you’re looking for a way to have some fun, spend some time with friends or family, or just get out in nature a little more while getting some exercise, golf is the perfect sport to take you outdoors.
Let’s delve into why you should seriously consider playing more golf (or learning) if you want to get out in nature more often.
The Health Benefits of Being Outdoors
There’s nothing wrong with indoor sports. They get you moving, get your heart pumping, and keep you physically fit. But being outdoors—and more specifically, playing sports outdoors—has other benefits that you don’t always find with indoor sports.
Here are some of the health benefits of being outdoors. Whether or not you’re playing sports!
Studies suggest that people who exercise outdoors enjoy it more than those who exercise indoors, and also have greater motivation to continue working out long-term.
Having access to beautiful outdoor spaces encourages physical activity. The majority of people would much more happily take a long, relaxed walk through a beautiful, natural space than through a cold building!
People are also more likely to get regular exercise if they live near an open area with some grass, trees, and natural elements.
Vitamin D is essential for health, both mental and physical! As much as you can take a vitamin D supplement, the best way to get your daily dose and stay healthy is through sunlight.
Low vitamin D levels can contribute to the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), high anxiety levels, and a low level of serotonin in the brain and body.
Spending time outdoors regularly (even in overcast weather) gives you a natural boost of vitamin D in your system, which improves health in multiple ways.
Less stress, more activity, more sunlight, and increased serotonin levels equal better sleep. Sleep is when the body heals, so it goes without saying that this is an excellent benefit!
Mental & Physical Health
This study shows that exposure to nature has a myriad of benefits! Physically, conditions like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and mortality are much lower in demographics who spend time in nature regularly.
It also indicates that stress levels are lower, mental distress is decreased, and general wellbeing is higher in those people who are out in nature regularly.
Why Golf Is The Perfect Sport for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Now that you know why being in nature is a good thing, here are a few reasons why golf is the perfect sport to take you outdoors.
You Can Find Beauty Anywhere In the World
Golf is an absolutely universal sport. Wherever you travel, there’s bound to be a golf course nearby. Even if you don’t travel, I can bet there’s a golf course near you right now.
Golf courses are places of beauty. It doesn’t matter if they’re a links course, a traditional-style course, or a resort course. It also doesn’t matter if there’s an expansive view or if you’re closed in by trees.
Being on a golf course, you’re surrounded by beauty. Green, smooth grass. Sleek white sand. Cool water. Majestic trees. Sometimes, a stunning mountainous view, or the spray of ocean waves on your face as you swing.
Whether you’re in a tropical paradise or a desert landscape, there’s sure to be a little slice of heaven right nearby.
There’s a Lot of Exercise Involved
As much as golf can be a relaxed way of getting out in nature, it also consists of a surprising amount of exercise (especially if you choose to walk instead of using a golf cart).
Did you know that a round of golf can burn up to 1,000 calories? Depending on your activity level while playing, of course. But for a relatively relaxed kind of sport, it’s certainly a good choice for those who want to shed some pounds and get healthier.
Walking the course isn’t the only way to get some exercise on the golf course. Your swing is surprisingly muscle-heavy, and it’s a bit of a workout in itself! On average, you’ll end up doing a fairly hard swing up to 40 times per 18-hole round.
That swing involves multiple muscles, including the chest, the serratus (muscles along the ribs), the biceps, the glutes, the obliques, and the upper leg muscles.
If you want to get some exercise outdoors, don’t neglect golf. Just because it’s known as a relaxed, less taxing sport, you can still get a pretty great muscular and cardiovascular exercise in a round.
You Can Do It Alone or Together
Are you the kind of sportsperson who enjoys partaking in a team sport with others? Or do you prefer to do your sporting activities as an individual, just you against you?
Either way, golf is the perfect sport to take you outdoors. The beauty is that it can be done alone or together with others, depending on how you feel on the day.
If you feel like a quiet day alone on the golf course, you can spend a restful day playing a round by yourself, or simply spend a few hours at the driving range. On the other hand, golf is a fantastic choice for a friends’ day out, as well.
Want to get out in the fresh air with your spouse and kids? Golf is a great way to do so, even if it’s just a game of mini-golf together.
Looking for a fun day outdoors with your friends? A few hours on the golf course followed by a good meal, drinks, and catching up is a great way to unwind.
And, of course, you can even get outdoors in the fresh air during a business meeting by playing a round with potential clients. They say the best business is done on the golf course!
You’re Surrounded by Nature
Not all sports offer the benefit of being in the great outdoors, surrounded by nature. Golf is one of them that truly allows you to be in touch with nature, not just on a field.
It’s true that sports like football, baseball, and many others get you out in the sun, on a green patch of grass, with the wind in your hair. But many of them are confined to a field, designed and built for the purpose of sports, and fairly devoid of natural elements like trees.
The golf course is different. Most courses are routed around the natural landscape, incorporating trees, cliffs, ravines, rivers, and any other natural elements that are already present in the landscape.
That’s what makes golf so different from other outdoor sports! You’re not “outdoors” in a man-made stadium – you’re quite literally out amongst nature… That just happens to have a golf course built into it.
If you want to reap the benefits of fresh air and sunshine while enjoying lower stress levels, a stronger immune system, and a naturally elevated mood, golf is the ideal sport for you.
The Yale School of Environment’s research indicates that spending at least 120 minutes in nature every week is enough to have profoundly positive effects on a person! One round of golf covers that amount of time, so what can you expect to feel?
According to the research, as long as people feel safe in a natural environment (like a golf course), some of the positive benefits include lower anxiety levels, reduced stress levels, less aggression, lowered blood pressure, improved moods, elevated self-esteem, and a strengthened immune system.
Low Risk of Injury
When you consider proper outdoor sports (ie. in amongst nature) like rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking, many of them have a high risk of injury involved. Fall off a mountain bike on rough terrain, slip down a rock wall, or even twist your ankle on a hike and you’ll end up in the ER!
However, golf is different. One of the reasons golf is the perfect sport to take you outdoors is the very low risk of injury it comes with.
Although keeping the correct form is important, the truth is you can swing away with the wrong form for a long time before you’re likely to get an injury. The biggest chance of injury is through overuse, but you can also reduce the chance of getting hurt by simply doing some dynamic stretching before starting your game.
Mindfulness Is Part of the Game
Golf isn’t just an amazing sport for physical fitness. It’s excellent for mental strength, strategic thinking, and mindfulness as well.
If you truly want to play a great round of golf, there’s much more to it than just hitting a ball with a stick. Being a successful golfer is a strategy, planning, and careful implementation of actions based on data.
But a large part of the game is also about mindfulness. From your swing to your last putt, your mind-body connection is an important part of the game, as is your mental attitude.
Your swing form is important, not only for preventing injury but also to create the power behind every shot. You have to be mindful in order to make the most of your swing.
The mind-muscle connection is one part of it. You can’t just swing away without a thought. Every move needs to be careful and deliberate, including your putting.
Despite the beauty surrounding you, you need to have your head in the game. But the nature of golf is such that it’s easy to be mindful on every shot, when you’re moving at a slower pace, surrounded by stunning nature, and feeling free!
It’s Easy to Socially Distance Yourself
Although the pandemic panic has died down somewhat, social distancing has become a habit for some of us!
Whether you’d prefer to keep your distance just in case or you’re anticipating more social distancing restrictions in the future, golf is an excellent way to stay active, do something you enjoy, get some exercise (physical and mental), and still, keep your distance from others.
Sports like football, basketball, and hockey all require the participants to be up close and personal with each other. Not so with golf! Even if you’re playing a round with others, it’s easy to stay the required distance from each other while still enjoying the game.
In fact, the essence of gold remains the same, no matter how close you get to the others you’re playing with. You can’t play a great game of basketball while staying socially distanced if you can truly play at all.
However, nothing much changes when it comes to golf. With a mask, without a mask, distanced or otherwise, golf is golf and the game is never compromised.
The truth is, golf is the perfect sport to take you outdoors. Whether you’re an amateur, an intermediate golfer, an experienced player, or just considering learning, it’s an excellent choice of sport for a wide variety of reasons.
Golf is extremely versatile as well. You can play at a relaxed pace, take the golf cart, and take it really easy. Or, you can get a really excellent workout, engage those muscles, use your strategic thinking skills, and make the most of your time on the course.
You can play a round alone when you want some time to yourself. Or, you can play with any group of people, be it friends, family, colleagues, or potential business partners.
Whatever your reason for playing or who you play with, spending a few hours outdoors in the fresh air, sunshine, and open space is good for everyone.
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course enjoying the outdoors or mentoring young golfers, he’s researching and writing helpful articles for his website, Golf Influence.