Now that the weather is warming up, and the grass is green, many of us are thinking about tuning up their swing and getting back on the course. Golf is one of many outdoor recreational activities that can actually help boost your immune system in some often forgotten ways: getting more vitamin D3, adding to overall physical output per week, and having a positive effect on mental health and wellness.
Why is it thought that getting sunshine is good for us? Sunshine, specifically UV B rays, interacts with a protein in our skin causing the production of Vitamin D3, the active form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 helps with calcium absorption, crucial in maintaining strong bones. As far as immune response, deficiencies in Vitamin D are prevalent in patients with autoimmune diseases, as well as for those with increased susceptibility to infections!(1)
Golf can be considered a low to moderate intensity physical activity. While less intensive of an exercise when compared to aerobic exercises such as running or biking, intervals of activity occur throughout the game, such as when having to walk around to find your ball. If you were to walk through an entire 18 hole game, you would have completed approximately 3.7 miles. That’s roughly 210-360 calories burned from walking alone, even more if you carry your bag! The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Regular exercise has anti-inflammatory responses, protects us against bacteria and viruses, along with protection against dementia, cognitive decline and more. (2)
In this community, we are so fortunate to have an extraordinary variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Whether on the fairway, river, or trail, spending time in nature has been scientifically shown to have a beneficial effect on our mental health state. It produces positive thoughts and reduction in stress, both important factors in combating the detrimental effects of high cortisol and poor emotional health (3). When we are aware of providing ourselves with an extra boost, may it be through golf or just getting out for a stroll, doing the active things we enjoy are necessary at this time to preserve our mental health and immunity.
To protect your back, your swing, and everything in between you can find Dr. Joe Feret, DC, at the WIN Health Institute serving athletes, recreationists, and families in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Locations in Aspen, Willits, and Glenwood Springs. Call (970) 279-4099.
Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881‐886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
immune system response: Anti-inflammatory status on peripheral and central organs [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 28]. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020;165823. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165823
Wahbeh H, Haywood A, Kaufman K, Zwickey H. Mind-Body Medicine and Immune System Outcomes: A Systematic Review. Open Complement Med J. 2009;1:25‐34. doi:10.2174/1876391X00901010025