Golf is not just a physical game, it’s mental as well. Every shot requires a measure of strategy, creativity and problem solving and demands visualization, focus and concentration. It also involves other intellectual disciplines such as geometry and, of course, arithmetic. All of which helps keep the brain active and slows the ageing process.
Both walking and executing a shot result in an increase the supply of blood to the brain. While calculating distances and, for example, the effect of the wind, generates work for the right side of the brain. Even simple conversation engages a cognitive function and what round of golf does not contain a lot of chat?
Just watching the ball fly through the air stimulates the tracking functionality in the brain as, indeed, does searching for the ball in the woods. And the considerable mental effort required when focusing on the next shot and concentrating on the execution of it will also contribute significantly to your brain’s activity.
Hitting just one decent shot enhances self-esteem which in turn helps prevent memory loss. Research indicates that individuals with low self-esteem are more likely to suffer memory loss as they grow older.
A recent paper delivered at the Royal Society in London demonstrated that the brains of those suffering low self-esteem are more likely to shrink than those who enjoy high self-esteem.
Dr Sonia Lupien of McGill University in Montreal monitored the brain scans of 92 senior citizens over a period of 15 years and found that the brains of those with low self-worth were up to a fifth smaller than those who felt good about themselves. The latter group also performed less well in memory and learning tests.
Dr Lupien believes that teaching those with a negative mind set to adopt a more positive approach could reverse their mental decline. She commented: “This atrophy of the brain that we thought was irreversible is reversible – some data on humans shows that that if you enrich the environment and change some factors, brain structure can return to normal levels.”
Golf is a great way to accomplish this!