Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ochsner Sponsors Zurich Classic and Offers Tips on Improving Health

Adding a Healthy Swing to Your Golf Handicap

NEW ORLEANS – From April 20th – 26th, Ochsner will serve as the Official Health Care Provider of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans by staffing the event’s first aid tents and offering Ochsner Eat Fit healthy menu options. While world-class, PGA golfers compete for a million-dollar purse, Ochsner is hoping that local residents will take notice of the healthy lifestyle that golfing can offer. You may not make the PGA Tour, but you could loose that extra weight around the middle.

“At first glance, golf doesn’t seem like a cardio game; however, if players will forgo the motorized golf cart and walk the greens, they can get a pretty good workout,” explains Dr. Carl Lavie, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Director of Exercise Laboratories.

According to Golf Science International, the four hours it takes to play 18 holes is comparable to a 45-minute fitness class. Yet another study, done at the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, estimates that walking 18 holes is the same as walking four to five miles.

“Walking is in fact one of the easiest and most effective methods of exercise; however if you’re just getting started its best to take it easy on the greens by alternating walking the course and riding in the cart. Instead of carrying your clubs, be sure to use a pull cart or a motorized caddy to preserve your back,” says Tavis Piattoly, Assistant General Manager at Ochsner’s Elmwood Fitness Center.

Other reasons to choose a round of golf for a healthy, stress-reducing activity include:
Mood enhancement: Since any form of exercise releases natural, mood enhancing drugs called endorphins into your bloodstream, a round of golf if the perfect way to distract you from Wall Street woes. Plus, you get to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Muscle Toning: Anyone who’s tried their hand at golf can attest it’s a learning experience since swinging a club isn’t a natural motion. The swing uses different muscles in your arm, shoulder, back, and leg muscles, that don’t normally see activity in the course of a normal day.
Heart Health: Walking is aerobic exercise, which has many benefits including strengthening your heart and cardiovascular system, improving your circulation, increasing energy levels and endurance, and lowering blood pressure.
Stamina Building: By walking around the golf course weekly, you’ll soon begin to notice an increase in your stamina, you’ll be less out of breath, and, hopefully, your waistline will shrink along with your handicap.

The one major pitfall that could ruin a heart-healthy golf game is the clubhouse caloric overload. After you’ve spent a few hundred calories don’t waste them on empty alcohol or fat laden food.