(CNN) – For millions of Americans, golf is more than a sport. It may be about enjoying the outdoors with friends or getting some exercise. But new research suggests teeing up can add more to your life.
Researchers analyzed data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which measured risk factors for heart disease and stroke in those 65 and older. Participants had regular yearly exams and visits every six months during a 10 year period.
Once those exams ended, the participants were contacted to determine whether they’d had a heart attack or stroke. More than 380 of the nearly 5,900 participants played golf at least once a month.
When comparing golfers and non-golfers, researchers found golfers had an 8% lower death rate from all causes compared to non-golfers.
While researchers were unable to determine if golfing had a direct impact on lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke, they’re currently working to identify what other health conditions may benefit from regular play.
The study’s lead author said regular exercise, exposure to a less polluted environment and social interactions provided by golf are all positive for health. The author said walking or low intensity jogging may be comparable exercise.