Golf is a game that not only challenges your physical skill but also your ability to stay calm and focused. It turns out, it’s also a great way to boost your brain power. No matter what your handicap, golf can provide a fun, social way to stimulate your brain, increase your self esteem and sharpen your concentration. Here’s how.
1) Increased Blood Flow To The Brain
Whenever your body is in motion, your brain benefits by the increased blood flow. Next time you hit the course, walk a few holes rather than driving them. The extra steps can go a long way towards stimulating your brain fitness and increasing your energy.
You don’t have to be Tiger Woods to benefit from some simple visualization techniques. By imagining your swing, putt, or overall form, you’re exercising your right brain, which is responsible for creativity . Plus, visualization can have a positive effect on the end results of your game.
No matter how serious or fun your conversations are on the course, a 2008 study showed that simply socializing with others increased cognitive function. Whether your next round is intended to seal a business deal or relax over the weekend, make sure to chat it up - just not during your buddy’s hole-winning putt.
4) Vision Work Out
When you golf, you not only have to focus on the ball while it’s at your feet, but also as it flies over the green. Therefore, you’re giving your eyes a visual workout and stimulating the tracking functions in your brain. Lose sight of the ball after your swing? No worries, you’ll still get a workout as you look for it in the grass.
5) Positive Affirmations
Many golfers give themselves positive reinforcement during the round. Whether you say it to yourself (“I will make this putt”) or out loud as a bet amongst your friends, positive affirmations can lead to increased confidence and self esteem.
Golf is often referred to as a game that requires excellent coordination. Whether it’s hand-eye, repeated precision strokes, or balance as you complete your swing, all of these practices exercise your cerebellum – one of the areas of your brain responsible for coordination.
7) Sharpen Your Focus
By concentrating on the ball and imagining your swing, you are training your brain to focus. The golf course tends to be a fairly quiet place, but you still have to block out some surrounding noise and movement. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to control your attention and thought processing.
No matter where you hit the ball, you are going to have to strategize to get the ball into the hole. This not only requires the use of geometry, but also analysis of environmental conditions and strength. This problem solving practice is a great left brain workout.
9) Self Esteem boost
A 2003 study showed that the brains of people with a low sense of worth were more likely to shrink than those with high self esteem. Poor results on memory and learning tests were a result of the shrinkage. Finishing a tough round of golf gives you a sense of completion and a nice boost to your esteem – no matter how you scored (ok, sometimes it’s tied to the score).
Next time you want to find a fun and physical way to boost your brain power, head over to the course. Grab some friends, your best imagination and problem-solving skills – and hit the green. Cart optional.