gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 91

it’s your SWING BY DON DELORENZO Golf…for the "HEALTH” of it I WESTERN GOLF GETAWAYS n this day and age we are all looking to get and stay healthy. People are joining a gym, doing CrossFit, Pilates and yoga. But remember long before there was a gym on every cor- ner there was a golf course in every town. Golf offers count- less benefits as a way to get and stay in shape both mentally and physically. On the mental side of things golf is great for the psyche. It keeps the mind alert. On every shot your brain must process the swing thoughts you have versus the elements that are presented before you. You must weigh the risk vs. reward element of the shot. This provides a challenge to your mind as you contemplate how to hit that particular shot. Totaling up your scores at the end of each hole and each round helps keep your mind sharp and alert. Golf provides that vital human contact that we all need to survive. Besides being a competitive sport (well…as competitive as you want it to be) it is a very social sport. The golf course is a great venue for socializing and meeting new people with a variety of lifestyles. Golf can provide an escape from the hassles of day-to-day “life,” reduce stress and anxiety as well as increase relaxation. Physically, a round of golf is an excellent part of any physical fitness program. Along with the amount of walking involved, the golf swing itself is a great full body workout. Every round of golf, you are taking a full swing some 40-60 times depending on how accomplished you are and how many practice swings you take. The full swing uses all the body parts. It uses your feet for balance and legs for stability and power. Hips and back for rotation and to generate swing speed. Your arms and shoulders are used to deliver the club to the ball. Let’s not forget the mind to put it all together into one fluid motion. During a full 18-hole round of golf you will walk off approximately 1500 calories. That is on a typical flat course of 5-6 miles. Add to this if the course you play is a little hilly. Just a good walk in the fresh air does wonders for the endorphin and serotonin levels. This leads to improved mood and reduced stress. I can’t think of a round of golf I’ve played that even if I played poorly, I didn’t physically feel much better after words. Even if you take a cart and ride the course you still are walking from the tee to your cart to the ball on each shot and getting the muscles to exercise on each swing. Golf is a “low impact” sport. So unlike jogging, tennis or weightlifting it’s easy on the joints and won’t lead to long- term damage. This is what makes it popular among older players who can’t quite get out to the park and play football or basketball anymore like they could when they were in high school. For the young player and the concerned parent, golf is the perfect sport. With the increased risk of head trauma in the major sports, golf is virtually free of that risk. It provides the best of all worlds. Golf provides great exercise in an open environment. An individual sport where there are no referees to blame and really challenges your psyche and makes you a stronger person. So if you didn’t know about all these health benefits before, you do now. Go ahead and venture out to the links and start living the healthy life of golf. 91