The UK’s second largest heart charity, Heart Research UK, has started recommending that people aged 65 or older should play golf in order to reduce their chances of developing heart disease.
In an email sent to its database about how the elderly can improve their heart health, the organisation recommends exercise, and specifically golf, which can improve weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“Do what you enjoy and start small,” it states.
“Increments of 10 minutes of activity are all you need to kick-start your active lifestyle. Make your 10 minute sessions add up to 30 minutes a day at least five days per week to make a real difference to your heart health. Exercise can be anything that makes your heart beat faster, your body slightly warm and breathing quicker.
“Golf can be a great benefit to your health in later years and can add some serious foot mileage into your week.
“You may find other benefits of regular golf too, such as a reduced waist size, weight loss and improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
Last year the walking benefits of playing an 18-hole round at least once a week was investigated by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, which found that people who play the game regularly are 30 per cent less likely to experience coronary heart disease than those who don’t.
And in 2016 several employees of BT gave a ringing endorsement to golf after the company funded an event for them thanks to a British Heart Foundation newsletter.
The charity’s health-for-work newsletter promoted golf, and the work of the ‘Get into golf’ campaign, as an activity due to its physical and mental wellbeing benefits. Staff at telecommunications giant BT saw the email, and concluded that golf seemed perfect for BT’s ‘Fit for Life’ programme, designed to help BT employees become healthy and active, raise money for charity and help in the community, and decided to therefore offer the sport to its employees in the north east.
“A round of golf can involve walking up to five miles and burning around 900 calories. Golf also helps you relax, reduces stress and encourages you to spend time with friends out in the fresh air,” said BT senior nursing advisor Jo Jenkins
“Worldwide, the number of people aged 65 or older is projected to grow from an estimated 524 million in 2010 to nearly 1.5 billion in 2050, which unfortunately is bringing about a growing number of preventable diseases and physical disability,” adds Heart Research UK.
“While you can’t do anything about growing old, you can do things to reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
“Moderate physical activity such as brisk walking can significantly reduce the risk of death. Add to your golden years with recreation that is fun and heart healthy and enjoy an old age filled with good health and vitality that’s free from disability and heart disease.”