There are so many reasons to play golf. It gets you outside, it’s excellent exercise, you can travel the world playing it, meet new people, and make new friends – the benefits are endless! But, did you know there are several mental health benefits of playing golf, too? That’s right! As good as golf is for your body and social life, it’s also great for your brain.
Mental Health Benefits of Playing Golf
1. Reduces stress
A three-footer to save par or a long approach over water can be anything but stress-reducing. So, we understand why you may be asking, “just how does golf relieve stress?” It can be mostly attributed to something called green exercise. Green exercise is essentially any physical activity or sport performed in the great outdoors. The combination of physical output while being in contact with nature reduces stress and mental exhaustion. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that golf courses tend to offer incredibly beautiful and peaceful settings, too.
To get even more scientific, being outside stimulates serotonin production in your body. When sunlight enters your eyes, more serotonin is produced which plays a large role in your mood. So, you’ll find yourself in a generally happier mood when on the golf course – minus the double bogeys of course.
2. Lowers anxiety
The reduction of stress and anxiety go hand in hand when it comes to the mental health benefits of playing golf. As green exercise can reduce stress, it can also lower anxiety. But a long-term reduction of anxiety can have shocking lifelong benefits. Like, a longer life!
A combination of the physical benefits of golf and social interaction can lead to a huge decrease in anxiety. Because of this, studies have found that, on average, golfers live five years longer than non-golfers. So the next time your husband or wife gets upset that you’re playing your fourth round of the week, you have yet another justification to add to your list!
3. Encourages social interaction
At its root, golf is certainly an individual sport. You’re not playing for a team (in most cases) and your own score is the only one that matters to you. But as independent as golf can be, it also offers many opportunities for group play and camaraderie and is one of the best social benefits of golf.
If you’re playing by yourself, more often than not you’ll be paired with another group. Or, you may already have a large group of friends you like to play with! Either way is great, and offers a great opportunity to increase your social interaction. Social interaction has been found to naturally produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the “reward system” of the brain. Whether it’s a high-five after a great shot or a handshake at the end of a round, physical touch can produce dopamine, too.
4. Decreases effects of depression
The mental benefits of golf also extend to depression. Playing golf won’t eliminate depressive symptoms entirely, but it can drastically decrease their effects. Have you heard of a runner’s high? It stems from the production of endorphins but can be applied to golf, too. Sure it’s not as intense of an activity. But, a few hours of steady athletic activity can reduce the effects of depression.
5. Improves life skills
Life skills… it’s probably a phrase you haven’t heard since elementary school! But, no matter your age, life skills are always important. And golf offers a great opportunity to improve them. Take hitting a bad shot for example. Golf teaches you to accept what has happened, forgive yourself, let it go, and move on with the round.
With situations like these, there are so many parallels between golf and life. Refining and enhancing your abilities to accept the bad and focus on the good is a great way to increase your mental health and mental maturity.
So, are you ready to experience the mental health benefits of playing golf yourself? Great! Make your airport experience easier on your mind and body, too, when you ship your golf clubs and luggage ahead with Ship Sticks. Learn more about shipping ahead or get a free quote today!