It’s that time of year when golfers start to get the itch; they’re dying to play. Over the next few weeks, thousands upon thousands of golfers will head away with their buddies for a weekend of golf, camaraderie and – most likely – some unhealthy activities.
Even if you head to one of the greatest golf courses in the world, your game can be in the dumper by the end of the weekend if you don’t pay at least a little bit of attention to your health.
If you’ve ever gone on a golf trip, you know about this. Your trip very likely included drinking a little too much (or maybe more than a little), not sleeping enough, eating horribly and maybe smoking a few stogies while on the links. Not healthy.
But of course, golf can be healthy. Consider the positive health aspects of the game:
Exercise: The average golf course can be anywhere between three to eight miles. So if you skip the golf cart and walk, you can get plenty of exercise. Studies have shown that a golfer who carries his golf bag around at least 9 holes of the course can burn 720 calories. Researchers also found that one round of golf can be as beneficial to your health as a 100-mile bike ride.
Weights: Carrying that 30-pound bag is great exercise that can improve bone health and increase your metabolism. This can also help you build and strength your bones and the muscles in your arms and core.
Vitamin D: The sun! The incredible beacon of light centered in our little universe allows your body to create its own Vitamin D, which is necessary for absorbing calcium and keeping those bones strong. It also promotes sleep and increases serotonin levels, which may have something to do with why golf is also good for your mental health.
De-Stress: A day away from the office and life’s pressures can relieve all that stress. And considering that stress can lead to insomnia, weight gain, depression, and anxiety, the golf trip could be just what the doctor ordered.
But if you burn the candle at both ends and let your diet fall to pieces, the golf trip won’t be healthy. So let’s change that. Here are some tips for making your golf getaway healthy, as well as fun:
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Start before you get to the course – have some protein and some carbs (but not sugar!). Have half a bagel with some peanut butter, a banana, some scrambled eggs on a burrito or some oatmeal. Avoid a lot of McFat and sugar.
- Warm-up on the range. Stretch!
- Stay in balance. This is a major issue for people who walk the course (and, yes, I’m telling you to walk instead of taking a cart). Wear shoes that fit properly and use a double-strap, backpack-style bag. This way you can walk and carry your bag without putting uneven stress on the stabilizing muscles in your body.
- Apply sunscreen! You know this, but I bet you don’t do it all the time.
- Eat a healthy snack at the turn. Do not get that hot dog! A banana, a granola bar or a protein bar will keep you energized for the back 9. Or consider bringing your own snack – that’s what the pros do.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water instead of sports drinks. It’s just better for you.
- Take it easy at night. You’re there with your buddies to have some fun, but if you want to put up a good score on the course you need to take it easy and get some sleep at night.