An international research study backed by the R&A suggests that golf leads to improved muscle strength and balance in older participants.

Golf helps us keep happy and healthy in so many ways.

And now new evidence has emerged suggesting that it is a particularly beneficial exercise form for older people.

An international research study backed by The R&A indicates that golf can improve muscle strength and balance, particularly in older players.

The Strength and Balance Study was carried out with two sample groups over two years at the University of Southampton and the University of Southern California.

The findings suggests golf can improve quality of life through muscle strengthening, improved balance, aerobic exercise (equivalent to gym-based work or yoga) and social interaction.

The Southampton group involved 152 individuals aged 65 to 79 and over 80 and it compared the physical measures of older golfers and older non-golfers.

The conclusions were that:
⦁ Golfers under the age of 80 had better strength and balance than sedentary non-golfers of similar ages.
⦁ Golfers had better dynamic balance and static balance than non-golfers.
⦁ Strength of limb muscles and balance were better in golfers than non-golfers e.g. indicative through gripping and swinging a club, walking and squatting.
⦁ The physical demands recorded during a golf round were equivalent or greater than the demands for other common activities e.g. gym work or yoga.
⦁ Participants benefited from green space, social interaction and walking over hilly terrain.

Ahead of the study being peer reviewed to validate findings and future presentations made to the academic world, Professor Maria Stokes, who led the study at Southampton said:

“The findings indicate that golf is associated with health benefits related to better muscle strength and balance.

“This suggests golf may meet World Health Organization recommendations for older people, which would potentially qualify golf for social prescription and exercise referral schemes among policy makers to help manage health conditions.”

Meanwhile, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “These findings should encourage policy makers and healthcare professionals to consider recommending playing golf to older people as part of encouraging them to adopt a more active lifestyle, as well as tackling physical inactivity to reduce healthcare costs. "

What further proof do people need that golf will make your life just SO much better?