On a typical weekend morning, runners are tackling their long runs, swimmers are fitting in their laps and golfers are teeing off at their local course. If only two of those activities seem like an actual workout, you may need to take a closer look.
Golf may not seem like much of a workout, even to those who play the game, but in reality it’s a big calorie burner. According to the World Golf Foundation, playing an 18-hole round without a cart will have you walking about five miles and burning roughly 2,000 calories.
Most people who play in the U.S., though, use a cart. In fact, some courses require the use of a cart to keep the players moving. But even these players are getting in a workout. Carts help move the game along, but there are still many places you can’t take them on the course. Golfers still get a few steps in even when they use a cart, though the exact number of steps varies based on the course, players skill level and other factors.
Then there’s the actual swing, which is an athletic movement in itself. A golf swing relies on a variety of muscle groups, from your butt to your forearms and many more in between. All told, the World Golf Foundation estimates golfers who play an 18-hole round with a cart can expect to burn around 1,300 calories.
On top of burning calories and getting closer to meeting your daily step goals, the foundation says playing golf helps with balance and confidence. Not a bad list of benefits for something that most people consider a hobby.