In the Swing

Bored of the gym? How about a little clubbing instead?
Wednesday , 25 June 2008
In the Swing

It's the favoured sport of many Hollywood stars, young and old - but according to new reports, a love of the fairway could help you live up to five years longer.

Health practitioners are urging more young people to take up the game after discovering that golfers are 40 per cent less likely to die at any age than those who don't play. And if you're any good at it, like celebrity fans Catherine Zeta Jones and Justin Timberlake, you're even less likely to die young - 47 per cent less likely in fact, for those with a low handicap.

With the average round taking about four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for six to seven kilometres in the great outdoors, the health benefits are obvious. Maintaining a low handicap involves playing a lot, thus supporting the claim that it is largely the game itself that is good for the health. Better still, scientists claim that it is not just walking around the course that is good for your body and mind - the social aspect is also hugely beneficial - especially for those older players. Which is great news for Michael Douglas!

A round of applause...
So what can golfing do for you? Ignore the rubbish outfits, and concentrate on the health benefits for your body instead:

• A golfer can burn around 280 calories an hour on the course.

• Golf is one of the few low-impact exercises that work most of the body's major muscle groups, including your legs, back, arms, bum and abs.

• Playing a four-hour round of golf burns the same amount of calories as sweating your way through 45 minutes of aerobics.

• Playing golf is believed to help reduce levels of stress and cholesterol.

• Spend time perfecting your golf swing - the twisting movement is great for whittling the waistline.