Playing golf gives 'all round health benefits'
People who play golf live longer than those who do not, new research has suggested.
Edinburgh scientists claimed the sport was likely to increase life expectancy, help chronic diseases and improve mental health.
Researchers reviewed 5,000 studies into golf and found it had physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages.
They found the physical gains increased with age.
Balance and muscle endurance in older people were improved by playing the sport and it was also likely to improve cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health.
Golfing could also help those who suffered chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer and stroke, as well as helping reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and dementia, researchers found.
The study found golfers typically burnt a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes and those walking the course could cover four to eight miles.
Dr Andrew Murray, from the physical activity for health research centre at Edinburgh University, said: "We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.
"Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth.
"Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages."
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and is part of the Golf and Health Project, which is led by the World Golf Foundation.