Exercise can improve your mental wellbeing and it doesn’t have to be intense such as running or team contact sports. Even light exercise or movement, such as golfing, is associated with increased endorphins, reduced depression, anxiety, and stress.
Mental and physical health are connected. Treatment for mental health disorders must be holistic, addressing the whole person. Golf is a holistic sport that promotes meditation as well as physical activity to improve mental and physical health.
Golf offers all the same benefits as other forms of exercise when it comes to improving mental health, with several additional benefits due to the structure and skill involved in the sport:
- Golf helps to clear your mind as you focus on your target.
- Golf increases your heart rate through cardiovascular activity as you walk around the golf course and practice your swing.
- Golf builds muscle.
All of these benefits help to make golf a positive way of dealing with mental health issues.
The Benefits of Golf
All forms of exercise are great for your physical and mental health—and can reduce your risk for less healthy forms of stress-relief such as substance abuse (alcohol, prescription medication, illegal drugs)—golf is especially beneficial thanks to the unique blend of focus and physical activity it requires.
Golf in many ways is just as much a form of meditation as it is a sport. Regular play is associated with reduced anxiety and improved depression rates, as well as an overall reduction in stress and improved mood.
Here are some of the reasons why golf is good for your mental health:
- Golf is slow-paced. Daily life doesn’t offer many opportunities to spend time away from technology, outdoors, in the company of others. A golfer experiences all of these things together in one outing. On the golf course, you can completely—if temporarily—leave all the stresses of work behind and clear your mind. This allows you to truly relax and reset while also engaging in a bit of exercise.
- Golf can promote walking. Golf, especially if you skip the golf cart, is a cardiovascular activity. It helps to get your heart rate up, improves blood circulation, and builds up endorphin levels in your body. This is good for your mental health as well as your physical health.
- Golf encourages comradery. While you can just get a bucket of balls and practice your swing solo, a game of golf is a social sport. You head out with your co-workers or friends for small talk, to catch up on their lives, and a bonding experience. This is another great way to de-stress.
If you don’t have time to fit in a full round of golf, hitting the driving range can help you get some of these same benefits. You’ll get the physical benefits of repeatedly hitting the balls at a target, which is great for cathartic relief of stress.
- Golf requires focus. Focusing your attention on your ball, your golf swing, and a target hole clears your mind of all other problems. This can decrease stress and clear your mind. Many golfers refer to this meditative state as “non-thinking,” and, like meditation, is a great stress-reliever. Some call it the number one resource for improving golf performance.
Golf is great for people of all ages and activity levels. Whether you’re completely new to the sport or just want to improve your skills, there are many beginner and advanced level resources for learning. There are also plenty of opportunities and resources within the golf community to improve and make new connections.