Golf can cut risk of stroke by two thirds24th January, 2014 by Alistair Dunsmuir
Older men who play golf every day can cut their risk of suffering a stroke by two thirds, provided they walk the course.
A new study has found that walking between one and two hours a day, the equivalent of a six- or nine-hole round of golf, cuts the risk of stroke by one third in older men. If the round takes at least three hours, as most 18-hole rounds do, then the risk is reduced by two thirds.
University College London collected data over a ten-year period on nearly 3,500 healthy men aged 60 to 80 who were asked how far they walked each week. Men who walked less than three hours a week were most likely to have a stroke – about eight per cent of them suffered one at some point in the decade examined.
“Stroke is a major cause of death and disability and it is important to find ways to prevent stroke, especially in older people who are at high risk,” said Barbara Jefferis, a senior research associate in the university’s department of primary care and population health, who led the research study.
“Getting into the habit of walking every day for at least an hour could protect against stroke,” Jefferis said. “The walking could be for leisure.”
She said that the study found that the pace walked at was irrelevant to the health benefits – meaning that golfers do not need to play quickly if they played every day.
However, she added: “Aiming for 150 minutes per week of walking at a brisk pace would also protect against heart disease and diabetes.”
The study comes just a few months after Heart Research UK said that regular golfers can live up to five years longer than non-golfers.