After a grey and gloomy winter, many Islanders can’t wait to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Seniors who are looking to have fun while getting in a workout should consider swinging a golf club with the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Department’s Senior Golf program.
Not only is golf a great way to soak up some Vitamin D, but there are many health benefits for seniors. Golfers exceed 10,000 steps in a typical round, the golden number of steps that meet the recommended guidelines for daily exercise. Walking, carrying your bag, and swinging all increases heart rates and blood flow.
The average golfer walks four to five miles during eighteen holes of golf. Even riding in a motorized cart, golfers will burn 400 calories on average during a nine-hole game. Golf is considered a low risk of injury sport that builds lower body strength and improves core muscle, strength and balance.
“There is no question of the health benefit,” said Mercer Island senior golfer Stan Ruble.
Beyond the physical benefits of the game, golf is also great for keeping cognition sharp. Mental aspects of the game include planning strategy, tallying scores, calculating wind directions, determining green speeds, slope and using hand-eye coordination all provide a great workout for your brain.
“There is the challenge of finding balls that stray from the fairway and get lost in the woods. These balls are not well trained and deserve to get lost,” Islander Bob Delacour said. “There is always the challenge to figure out why the golf ball reacts so differently each time you hit. Someone in the group will always have an answer.”
Socialization is one of the aspects of golfing that seniors report benefiting them the most. It is a great way to relax, unwind and have a good time with friends new and old.
Ruble jokes that one of his favorite parts of the day is the socializing lunch after play, “sitting down with a bus load of golfers and having a beer with them and finding out that they had as many terrible shots as I did. Then having another beer talking about a few great shots of the day and where we are going to play next week. Without their healthful comradery and a beer, I would have quit this impossible game a long time ago.”
When current Mercer Island Parks and Recreation senior golfers were asked what their level of golfing experience was, responses received ranged from intermediate to “old time duffer”.
Golfer Peter Struck emphasized that he finds the Mercer Island golf group to be accommodating to players of all skill levels.
Bette Bjornestad who has golfed in the Mercer Island Senior Golf program for seventeen years and has over twenty-five years of golfing experience, wrote “In the retirement years there are many reasons our life changes, golf for me has been very helpful.”
Bette enjoys the mental, physical, and social benefits of golf and enjoys visiting beautiful courses to play what she describes as a challenging game.
If Islanders are ready to start enjoying the benefits of golf, you can find out more information about our program at . The Mercer Island program offers both nine hole and eighteen hole groups, makes all the golfing arrangements and provides transportation, playing Mondays, April – October.