Fitness: In golf, the workout is in the walk

Fitness queen Michelle Bridges, 51, shared her top workout tips in an interview with 9Honey Coach on Sunday, including how to add morning workouts into your routine.

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Given its popularity, you’d think there would be plenty of data on exactly where golf stands on the fitness continuum. But substantiating the energy expended during 18 holes of golf is trickier than it seems. Every course is a bit different; some longer, some shorter, some hillier and some flatter, which affects not just the number of steps taken but also the effort it takes to walk the course. The same principle applies to golfers, with novices, the experienced and pros all tackling the course differently. Yet another factor to consider is how a golfer carries their clubs, cart or no cart, which affects the amount of energy it takes to play 18 holes.

Hoping to add insight to a game played by 66.6 million people worldwide, researchers from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences at John Moores University in Liverpool outfitted 16 young golfers with accelerometers before each of three rounds on an 18-hole par 72 championship golf course in Portugal. All rounds were completed at least a week apart using a different way to transport clubs; a pull cart, electric cart or carrying the clubs (as COVID restrictions were in effect during the course of the study, electric ride-on golf carts were not available for use). Heart rate and activity levels for each golfer were recorded as well as responses to questions related to their perceived effort and level of enjoyment throughout the round.

“The aim of the current study was to quantify activity energy expenditure within an experienced cohort of elite golfers, whilst simultaneously investigating the effects of three popular equipment transport modes (carrying the bag, manually pushing a trolley and using an electric trolley),” said the researchers.