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Tee off for better heart health

While golfing was once known as the game of kings, the American Heart Association (AHA) says you don’t have to be a professional player to reap health benefits from hitting the links at your local golf course.

Research presented at the Association’s International Stroke Conference found that regularly golfing – at least once a month – lowers the risk of death, especially among older adults. Golfing also provides benefits such as stress reduction and regular exercise.

“Getting the recommended amount of exercise has a variety of health benefits,” says Dr. Anila Chadha, a family practice physician with Dignity Health Medical Group - Bakersfield. “And golfing is a great way to work toward your fitness goal. For those that are able, skip the cart rental and walk the course. But know even if you use a cart, you are still being active. Any movement is better than none at all.”

The AHA recommends most people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week and golfing qualifies as a moderate-intensity exercise. As an added benefit the typically slower, controlled pace allows for most people of all ages and physical fitness levels to play the sport. Golfing increases your heart rate and blood flow, enhances brain stimulation, improves balance, and encourages socializing.

“The social benefits of golf can’t be overstated,” said Dr. Chadha. “Connecting with others during a friendly game and spending time outside enjoying nature supports mental wellbeing.” Golfing has also been known to improve concentration and focus. “Personally, playing golf helps me to achieve my goal of 10,000 steps while spending time with my family and friends,” she adds.

There are a few safety measures to take into consideration before hitting the green. “Warm up with a few stretching exercises and be sure to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days,” says Dr. Chadha. “Also remember to check the maximum temperature and air quality before leaving the house, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and don’t get overheated. Know the signs of a heat stroke and if you or your fellow golfers show any symptoms, call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical help right away.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Anila Chadha or another Dignity Health Medical Group Bakersfield provider, please visit or call 661.846.6259.

Know Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Extreme confusion
  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Prevent Heat Stroke

  • Wear light-colored clothing
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear protection like sunglasses and hats
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take cool showers
  • Eat light food
  • Limit outdoor time