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golf

The Mental Health Benefits of Playing Golf

As World Mental Health Day approaches, Rockliffe Hall’s Wellbeing Manager, Peter Bell, explores the benefits of playing golf on our mental health.

Whether you are a consistent golf player or just like to play once and a while, you may or may not be aware, but you are experiencing a host of health benefits, both physically and mentally.

We tend to dismiss any suggestion that we could be suffering from any level of mental health issues, because we can feel that it reflects failure within us if we have issues in which we struggle to mentally cope.

It is claimed one in four people suffer some level of mental health issues within the UK, mental health issues effect everything from your thoughts to your behaviour to your relationships. It can sap your energy, mood and sleep and distort how you think about yourself and others.

It is well researched and stated, that you can boost your mental wellbeing by playing golf on a regular basis.

Keeping your brain active

Golf is a very cerebral sport, it requires focus, planning moves and exercise strategies. By keeping your brain active and in a thinking mode you can focus more on the game and less on the things that may make you feel anxious or sad about. Been in this mind set can release the feel-good endorphins that can combat anxiety and depression.

Release your feel-good hormones

When you feel good from all the endorphins you have released, your body and mind become less stressed and more at ease. When playing golf, you must exercise your patience, and with patience comes calmness, when we are relaxed and serene our stress levels can reduce significantly.

Provides Social interaction

Although you can play golf on your own it can also be a social sport, older adults may be more prone to feeling lonely or isolated, getting out on the golf course can bring friends together, it is also s great way to increase your social circle and make new friends.

Promotes emotional intelligence

Although a round of golf can bring a roller coaster of emotions, from a high when you hit a perfect shot, to frustration when you hit a poor shot and underperform, it takes fortitude and perseverance to keep practicing and being patient with yourself. Being able to remain level-headed throughout a round of golf will help anyone play better and teaches better emotional intelligence.

Outdoor benefits

Science says that nature is good for you, going outside, enjoying fresh air, the sun and the rolling green of the golf course is a great way to cheer up. Breathing the fresh air out in an open green space have many proven health benefits including helping lower cardiovascular disease and stress relief.

Staying outdoors can also help relax your muscle tension, which will further reduce your stress. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.

Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D in the blood can lead to signs of depression and anxiety. The good news is that your body can produce all the vitamin D it needs, as long as you expose it to the sun. Our skin can produce vitamin D only when you get out in the sun, and golf will get you plenty of that. If you spend your days inside an office, you might be stressed because of a vitamin D deficiency! Going out for a morning game of golf will refuel your vitamin D reserves and help keep the stress away.

Boosts your self-esteem

Nothing beats the satisfaction of making a difficult shot, golf is a complex but rewarding sport, mastering it will give a huge boost in your confidence and self-esteem. Experienced golfers know all too well that there is joy in improving your skills, it is easy to learn how to golf as the game itself is deceptively simple. However, the techniques are endless and allow for a remarkable depth of play, becoming better at golf can fill you with self-confidence.

Final thoughts

Clearly research states that playing golf on a regular basis can have a positive effect on our mental wellbeing, Sunday 10th October 2021 is World Mental Health Day, if you have time, get yourself on the course and not only enjoy a round of golf, but enjoy the positive mental health benefits.