» Physical activity at any intensity will help you live longer, study finds
Researchers analyzed data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which is a population-based observation of risk factors for heart disease and stroke in adults 65 and older.
For 10 years, participants had extensive exams each year and clinic visits every six months. After the 10 years, participants were contacted by phone to determine health status.
Of the 5,900 participants, 384 were golfers. Of those golfers, 8.1% suffered a stroke during the follow-up, and 9.8% had a heart attack. But when researchers looked at death rates, the golfers’ was much lower — 15.1%, compared to 24.6% for nongolfers.
"While walking and low intensity jogging may be comparable exercise, they lack the competitive excitement of golf," Qureshi said. "Regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health. Another positive is that older adults can continue to play golf, unlike other more strenuous sports such as football, boxing and tennis. Additional positive aspects are stress relief and relaxation, which golf appears better suited for than other sports."
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The research was presented Thursday at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.
"The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans does not yet include golf in the list of recommended physical activities,” Qureshi said. “We are hopeful our research findings could help to expand the options for adults to include golf."