Let me play: golf prolongs life by five years!

May 31st, 2008 - 5:49 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 31 (IANS) Here is the ultimate reason to get out and play your favourite game - it keeps you healthy and prolongs your life by as much as five years! Yes, golf is good for health and longevity, with the death rate for regular players as much as 40 percent lower than for others of comparable age, sex and social status, according to a new study.

And, what’s more, the gains are greatest in players with the lowest handicap - that is, the best golfers.

While exercise is generally considered good for health, its exact gains are still largely unknown - but the study’s findings suggests that regular golf prolongs life by a good five years.

A team of Swedish researchers analysed data from 300,000 golfers in the country to show that low-intensity exercise does have beneficial health effects.

Anders Ahlbom, who led the study, said there are several aspects of the game that are good for health.

“A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a fast pace for six to seven kilometres, something which is known to be good for the health,” he said.

“People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help.”

The study does not rule out that other factors than the actual playing, such as a generally healthy lifestyle, are also behind the lower death rate observed amongst golfers.

Golfers have a lower death rate regardless of sex, age and social group. The effect is greater for golfers from blue-collar professions than for those from white-collar professions.

“Maintaining a low handicap involves playing a lot, so this supports the idea that it is largely the game itself that is good for the health,” said Ahlbom.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

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