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Are you playing Golf? … These may be steps towards a healthier life, happiness and longevity

It is wise to practice and incorporate positivity, healthy behaviors and habits into our routines as this leads us to good fortune, happiness, productivity and health.

Regular exercise is essential for staying healthy and this is widely appreciated. Walking is one of the most effective and simplest forms of exercise. It is an easy aerobic exercise; some other aerobic exercises are swimming, jogging, running, cycling and hiking etc. By definition ‘aerobic’ means ‘with oxygen’; breathing and heart rate increase during aerobic activities to fulfil the oxygen demands of the body. Moreover, health experts suggest that regular walking can be beneficial in many ways such as; it improves circulation, strengthen bones, strengthen muscles, helps in weight reduction, improves sleep, support joints, boosts immunity, sharpens mind and memory and can also be helpful in managing stress.

Recently, researchers conducted controlled clinical trials to assess the effects of regular walking during a golf game on various health and fitness indicators in middle-aged men.

[The randomized control trial is a study design in which the participants of the study are randomly assigned to one of the two groups; the experimental group of participants, who receive the intervention that is being tested, and the comparison group or the control group of participants, who do not receive the intervention.]

The participants of the studies were 55 healthy male golfers aged 48 to 64 years, who had been sedentary or physically inactive during the last 7 months before the study; and 55 age-matched similarly sedentary controls. During the 20-weeks course of the study, the participants in the intervention group were encouraged to play golf two to three times a week; whereas participants in the control group were not advised to do so.

Moreover, for the studies measurements of body composition (Body composition is the proportion of fat and non-fat mass such as muscle, bones and organs etc. in human body), cardiorespiratory performance (assessment of ability of circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen during sustained physical activity), motor and musculoskeletal fitness (assessment of muscle strength, muscle endurance and muscle power to enable the performance of work against one’s own body or an external resistance), blood pressure, and serum lipid profile (measurements of different types of fat such as cholesterol, triglycerides etc. in blood), serum glucose (sugar) and insulin levels (a hormone or chemical which affects blood sugar levels) were obtained at baseline and after the 20-week study.

Through the studies researchers observed that walking during a golf game was a practical and safe form of physical activity with high adherence (active voluntary involvement of participants in exercise program); and it significantly increased aerobic performance and trunk muscle endurance. It emerged that regular walking favorably affected body composition; so there were reductions in weight, in waist circumference and abdominal wall thickness among golfers.

Furthermore, golfers also had significantly greater increases in serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and in ratio of HDL cholesterol to total cholesterol.

[High-density lipoprotein (HDL); sometimes called ‘good cholesterol’ are carrier molecules that carries excess cholesterol from different parts of the body back to liver; and liver then removes the cholesterol from the body. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that is needed for many vital biological processes but excess blood cholesterol levels could be harmful.]

Thus, in the light of these findings researchers concluded that regular walking had many positive effects on the health and fitness of sedentary middle-aged men. Walking during a golf game is a good form of health-enhancing physical activity as it is characterized by high adherence and low risk of injury.

 Reference:

A controlled trial of the health benefits of regular walking on a golf course

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002934300004551

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