Please, don’t anyone tell Richard Simmons

While my passion for the NFL and Fantasy Football have waned a bit, my love for golf remains strong and I’m looking forward to warmer weather and being able to play again.

I’ll still enjoy it even now that I know it’s good for me.

I came across this story the other day about a study that showed some surprising results in the amount of calories a golfer burns over nine holes.

Among the top findings: Given the number of calories burned, it’s certainly fine to call golf a sport.

“One of the more interesting things I found was that the actual act of swinging a golf club takes significant energy,” said Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver.

Maybe more energy than many people might think for a motion that takes a grand total of about three seconds.

Wolkodoff found eight male volunteers, ages 26 to 61 with handicaps between two and 17, strapped them into some state-of-the-art equipment and took them out for a few rounds of golf on the hilly front nine of Inverness Golf Club in suburban Denver.

Wolkodoff discovered the subjects burned more calories when they walked and carried their clubs (721) than when they rode in a cart (411). When they walked, they traversed about four kilometres, compared to a kilometre when they rode, but the 400 per cent increase corresponded to only a 75 per cent increase in calories burned.

The conclusion was that the act of swinging the golf club could actually be considered good exercise – a theory many on the “not a sport” side of the golf debate have long questioned.

“As far as physical exertion, it’s not the same as boxing, but it’s definitely more than people thought,” Wolkodoff said.

Wolkodoff’s golfers played four, nine-hole rounds; one round each of carrying their clubs, pushing a cart, using a caddie and riding a motorized cart. Among the interesting findings was that there is virtually no difference in the number of calories burned when carrying your clubs (721) or using a push-cart (718). I like that since I use a push-cart myself.

“The study shows there’s significant energy expenditure in golf, more than bowling and some other sports it’s been compared to,” Wolkodoff said. “There are a lot of sports that don’t have this level of energy expenditure.”

Of course, whatever benefit I get is likely offset by whatever I choose to guzzle while “re-hydrating” after a round, but at least now I can see there’s a big difference when “grabbing a quick nine” refers to golf holes instead of doughnut holes.

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