All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf responds to new evidence of golf improving strength and balance
The Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Golf, North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey, has welcomed the results of an international research study that provides new evidence to suggest that playing golf offers health benefits to older participants in the form of improved muscle strength and balance.
The two-year Strength and Balance Study, backed by The R&A and carried out by Professor Maria Stokes OBE at the University of Southampton and Dr George Salem at the University of Southern California (USC), found that:
- Participants in the golf training programme of the study improved their muscular strength, power, endurance, balance, flexibility and walking performance
- 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, squatting
- The golf training programme was feasible and effective; novice golfers were able to play 9 holes of golf by the 10th week and completed 282 of 300 (94%) total training sessions
- 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
- The programme was safe; there were no golf-related injuries or adverse events
Speaking about the study’s findings, Tracey said “as The R&A has reported, muscle strength and balance exercises form an important part of the World Health Organization’s recommended guidelines to tackle physical inactivity in older people. In Parliament, we have heard about the physical and mental health benefits of golf and it is good to see evidence supporting that. This will go a long way to further the argument for physical activity, and specifically golf, to be available through the NHS to reduce healthcare costs long term, and promote longevity in the UK’s population.”
More information, and access to The R&A’s Golf and Health Report (2016-20), is available here.