You don't need a scientist or doctor to tell you that bouncing around in a cart all day in between rotating your spine as fast as possible is not the best way to keep your back happy.
Nor do you need anyone to tell you how bending over and pushing a cart, or walking lopsided as you carry your bag, isn't a great strategy to ensuring your body will allow you to play golf for the rest of your life.
How do we know this? Well putting aside the pain and stiffness we felt after every round before we started using electric golf caddies, there have been several scientific studies that prove just how good walking the course can be for you - if done the right way.
Firstly, a study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet, which collected data on over 300,000 golfers over a fifteen-year period, found the death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age, and socioeconomic status.
This corresponds to a 5-year increase in life expectancy.
Just think of how many more rounds you could play in 5-years! If, like me, you have a bucket list of courses to play before you die as long as your forearm, those 5 years could make all the difference. Not to mention the invaluable extra time spent with family and friends.
But what if this is simply a coincidence I hear you say? What if those people who walked just live a more active in general. After all, how beneficial can walking around a golf course be for you compared to, for example, running a few miles on the treadmill? A great question, but not one that hasn't been answered before.
A study published in Physician and Sports Medicine found that the average total caloric expenditure for an 18-hole round of golf is between 1,500 and 2,000 calories. Burning 3,000 calories is the equivalent of one pound of fat, so every time you walk the course, you're burning the equivalent of a half of pound of fat (that's a lot of cheeseburgers)!
In fact, they discovered that since walking is biomechanically more efficient than running, playing an 18-hole round of golf is roughly equivalent to a 3.5 to 4-mile run. This resulted in a 1.4kg reduction in weight (3.1 lbs), 2.2cm (almost 1 inch) lost in waist circumference and a reduction of 2.2cm in abdominal skinfold thickness in study participants.
If you've been advised to lose weight but the idea of going to a hot and sweaty gym doesn't sound very appealing, I can relate. However, once you realize you can start losing simply by playing the game we all love, it doesn't seem like such a chore.
Even if weight loss isn't on your list of priorities...
For one, blood glucose levels fall by up to 20% for the young, 10% for the middle-aged, and 30% for the elderly players and body weight is reduced M=0.7% for all groups. Just stick to drinking water on the course and don't counteract this by hydrating yourself with soda!
Golfers who walk show greater increases in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and in the ratio of HDL cholesterol to total cholesterol. I'm no doctor but I've been told this is a good type of cholesterol.
Either way, if you showed any of these statistics to any health professional and I guarantee you they will be impressed. However, if you then asked them what the drawbacks of playing golf are, they would probably point to the very reason we got here in the beginning: the numerous back, shoulder, and foot related injuries they have seen over the years as a direct result of playing golf. That's where an electric golf trolleycomes in.
For us, pain stemmed from years of caddying and carrying our bags as junior golfers. While it never seemed like an issue at the time, physical therapists told us the pain we experienced later in life was a direct result of this.
It wasn't just us either. A study published by American Journal of Sports Medicine analyzed the injury data from a total of 703 golfers who were randomly selected over two golfing seasons.
Golfers who carried their bag on a regular basis suffered significantly more injuries to the lower back, shoulders, and ankles.
Two of the most common injuries in golf are lower back pain and foot pain (plantar fascia pain) which are directly affected by carrying your clubs.
We soon found that using a manual push cart didn't ease the pain and riding in a cart wasn't coming close to satisfying our need for exercise. The QOD Electric Golf Caddy was a lifesaver.
Before long, our pain had all but gone and we were enjoying the game more than ever. On reflection, it was the best and most important decision of our golfing career - far more significant than changing swing coach or buying a new set of irons.
Using a motorized golf push cart has certainly prolonged our golfing career, and hopefully our lives, for many years (you better be right on this one Karolinska Institutet)!
Parkkari, J., Natri, A., Kannus, P., Mänttäri, A., & Laukkanen, R., et al. (2000). A controlled trial of the health benefits of regular walking on a golf course. American Journal of Medicine,109(2), 102-108.
Sell, T. C., Abt, J. P., Lephart, S. M. (2008) Physical activity-related benefits of walking during golf. Science and Golf V: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf.128-132.
Gosheger G1, Liem D, Ludwig K, Greshake O, Winkelmann W. (2003) Injuries and overuse syndromes in golf. The American journal of sports medicine.
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