Are you looking for a fun, exciting way to bask in the sun? Why not try golf?
It is widely known as a gentleman’s game, golf is arguably one of the most underrated outdoor sports mainly due to its elitist status and the long hours you have to spend outdoors. But over the years, golf courses have been more welcoming people from every age, culture, class, and budget. Golf may not be the most physically demanding outdoor sport, but it sure is relaxing—you get to enjoy the greenery, receive vitamin D from the sun, and break a sweat all at the same time.
With golf being more accessible than ever, here are some reasons why the popular outdoor activity is touted as the most relaxing sport to play under the sun. Additionally, you can find sun protection tips you can follow to combat overexposure from the sun.
Everyone needs regular exercise, and hitting the links is a great way to break a sweat while also appreciating nature and the company of friends or family. In addition, any form of exercise, playing golf included, helps decrease stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body.
In a golf course, you are expected to traverse more than 10,000 steps during a standard 18-hole round (that is if you don’t use a golf cart). And during your long strides, you are expected to carry your golf bag, which counts as a weight-bearing exercise that helps foster stronger and better muscles. Depending on the golf course’s undulation, you can burn 1,500 calories from all the walking required. So ditching the golf cart will not only help promote weight loss and help improve your cardiovascular health.
Now, let’s dive into the game itself. It may not be evident from the get-go, but the nature of golf allows for a full-body workout. An average golfer swings their club 20-30 times in a 9-hole round, excluding practice swings. These golf swings exercise not only your arms but your entire core, shoulders, hips, and legs. Therefore, make sure to do some stretching and warm-up exercises before you roll up to the links.
Here is a foolproof stretching routine that’ll get you more flexible for a tight game:
1. Hamstring stretch
A swing can make or break your game. As such, you’ll need to stretch your hamstrings. Do a forward fold and bend your knees slightly if the position is too hard for you to make way for a better stretch. Not only does it loosen the hamstrings, but to the lower back as well.
2. Side stretch
While standing up straight, hold onto your golf club with your right hand. Cross your left leg over the other and stretch your left arm to the other side, reaching for the club. Keep your chest open and your head looking up. Loosen your hips and allow it to feel the stretch on your left side. Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, then switch sides.
3. Shoulder stretch
Keep your feet hip-width apart, then lift your golf club over your head using both hands. Next, floss your club behind until it becomes parallel to the ground. Hold for 2 seconds, then return to your original position. Repeat the exercise 6 to 8 times. This stretch helps reduce stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and back.
4. Wrist and hand stretch
Probably the easiest stretch on the list, all you need to do is extend your right arm with your palm facing up. Then, with your left hand, press the fingers of your right hand down toward the floor. Push gently, then slowly build up more pressure. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then repeat the process with the other arm.
It’s usually tiny adjustments that help you create a significant impact on your game. And with constant practice, you get closer to mastering golf. And as you master the sport, the whole process helps build your self-esteem and confidence by giving you the character and skills you need to succeed in daily situations.
Whether you’re an avid or novice golfer, you may or may not realize that you’re getting a lot of mental benefits from playing golf. Being a cerebral sport, you’ve got to be creative, focused, and mindful of your moves throughout the round. By keeping your brain active, your mind is focused on the game and less on your problems and worries, which is the primary goal of relaxation.
Getting yourself out on the golf course can also help shake off feelings of isolation and loneliness. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still enjoy interacting with golfers from 6 feet away. It’s just one way to expand your social circle and have a great time with family and friends.
Picture this: You’re playing in a 200-acre quiet field surrounded by tall trees and a jaw-dropping backdrop. Basking in the sun and the beautiful nature provides us a myriad of health benefits for the mind and body. In fact, a scientific study proved that exposure to green space brings positive impacts on mental health. In other words, you can get excellent benefits for your mental health by simply being outside!
Moreover, exposure to sunlight allows your body to acquire vitamin D from the sun, promoting better bone health and reducing the risk of heart diseases and depression. However, prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin damage, sunburns, and even skin cancer. Therefore, it’s essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or more and reapply as needed to stay protected under the sun. You can also protect your skin by wearing protective gear such as a broad-brimmed hat, long sleeves, pants, and sunglasses.
Golf may be a relaxing outdoor activity, but it doesn’t mean you’re entirely safe from the dangers outside, particularly the sun’s harmful UV rays. To make sure you’re not overexposed to the sun, you can use some wearable devices that provide data regarding UV exposure and personalized sun care advice to lower the risk of getting a sunburn. These devices are integrated with apps available on Android and iOS, which provide everything you’ll need to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, reminding you when to reapply sunscreen and tracking your vitamin D intake from sun exposure.
Jordan Fuller is a golf coach and a health enthusiast. He provides free professional golf advice, equipment reviews, and other helpful golf information on his website, Golf Influence.