Want to live longer? Play more golfHere’s your best excuse to play more golf, as if you needed another one.

According to numerous studies, playing golf is likely to increase life expectancy by five additional years, help prevent chronic diseases, and improve mental health. Researchers at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh reviewed 5,000 studies on the benefits and associations of the sport and well-being. They determined that golf can help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases like heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer. One such study’s lead author, Dr. Andrew Murray, says there are mental benefits as well, like reducing the risk of anxiety, depression, and dementia. I for one totally agree with the reducing anxiety and depression most days. There are those days when you wonder about your mental stability after that triple bogie, but all in all, it’s the best way I know how to stay active and invigorated.

The study further talks about how swinging a club also helps improve muscle endurance and balance, which is very helpful as we age. It’s not just us old guys who benefit. Young people benefit from the same effects. Whether you’re 4 years old or 100, it’s always a good thing to stay active and focus on improving your body’s basic functions to stay alert and balanced. There’s the 500 calories you’ll burn if you elect to walk those 18 holes vs. drive a cart. Just think, if the current 55 million golfers (1 percent) in the world today elected to walk 18 holes, that would be 27,500,000,000 calories burned in a single day! Who would rather spend hours indoors in a gym sweating and straining their muscles vs. enjoying a round of golf with good friends in fresh air and absorbing you daily needs for vitamin D? It’s a walk in a beautifully manicured park. Not a bad way to spend the day, right? Mark Twain was quoted, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” That quote may have been misattributed according to several history buffs. They believe it more than likely came from a lawn tennis player who, like his counterparts, was a traditional adversary of golfers in the field of recreation back in the early 1900s.

I for one love this game as much or more than anyone. I play about two or three days a week and have for the past decade. Prior to that, maybe twice a month, but now that I’m semi-retired and have worked as a course marshal, guest service personnel, and on the front desk, I’ve been blessed with great health in my life. I attribute most of that to staying active whether I’m playing golf, hiking, or skiing at Eagle Point in Beaver, which by the way has received over 140 percent of normal snow fall this season. Looks like “Ski Utah” this winter will surpass everyone’s expectations in 2017!

Golf has given back so much more than the cost of equipment, time, or green fees. It’s provided me with lifelong friendships, fabulous memories, and occasionally a few extra bucks in my pocket from a small wager. So the next time your buddy or good old dad invites you to play a round of golf, say, “Hell ya, I want to live longer.” See ya on the links, all you healthy old farts!

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