Study Discusses the Physical Benefits of Walking when you Golf
If you have golfed before, then you know that walking is a better workout than riding in a motorized cart. But how much better?
Scientific data is now available to quantify it.
Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, recently completed a study of these benefits at Inverness Golf Club in Denver, Co.
Wolkodoff found eight male volunteers, aged 26 to 61 with handicaps between 2 and 17, to participate in an experiment that would analyze energy consumption and scoring while playing several nine hole rounds of golf.
The participants wore equipment that measured such variables as heart rate, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production and distance covered per round.
Each golfer then played nine holes at Inverness in four different formats:
1) Carrying a bag
2) Pushing a cart
3) With a caddie
4) In a motorized golf cart
Walkodoff found that over a 9 hole round:
- A Golfer burned an average of 721 calories carrying a bag
- A Golfer burned an average of 718 calories pushing a cart
- A Golfer burned an average of 613 calories using a caddy
- A Golfer burned an average of 411 calories riding in a cart
So over an 18 hole round we can assume that:
- A Golfer will burn roughly the same number of calories carrying a bag as pushing a cart
- A Golfer will burn 216 more calories by carrying a bag versus taking a caddy
- A Golfer will burn 620 more calories by carrying a bag versus taking a cart
So, it can be estimated that walking when you golf burns almost twice as many calories as riding in a motorized cart, which is a significant physical benefit.
We also know, that walking when you golf takes a certain amount of fitness that can be improved through methods such as walking, jogging, cycling and yoga, off the course.
Some commentary on the benefits of physical conditioning for walking golfers:
Wolkodoff noted that players reached their peak heart rates at the top of two taxing, uphill holes. When they were carrying or pushing the cart, the peak heart rates went past their anaerobic thresholds, and Wolkodoff noticed a marked spike in scoring on the tougher of the two holes under these circumstances.
He attributes it to the buildup in lactic acid, which decreases fine motor skills.
Returning below the threshold took 2 minutes to 3 minutes in some cases.
This information supports the notion that aerobic and anaerobic conditioning off the course will improve performance and endurance on the course.
Weightlifting or other strength building activities will also benefit golfers who carry a bag or push a cart, because the stronger your arms and legs, the easier it is to climb hills without fatigue.
So if you walk when you play, it is a good idea to maintain solid physical condition by participating in activities such as jogging, spinning, yoga and strength conditioning.