Background: Regular physical activity plays a role in preventive medicine. Our study aimed at establishing the duration of different levels of exercise intensity during a round of golf.
Participants: we studied 21 male and 9 female golfers (mean age 53 +/- 11 and 54 +/- 13 years respectively) volunteering for a round of golf on a hilly course.
Measures: we recorded mean heart rate (HR) of every 15 seconds. Blood pressure was taken on each tee. Maximum HR (HRmax) reserve of each subject was calculated from the difference between pre-exercise and maximum HR attained during a test to volitional exhaustion on a cycle ergometer. A percentage of this value was added to the resting HR and was expressed as a percentage of HRmax reserve.
Results: Before start mean HR (+/- SD) was 86 +/- 11 beats per minute (BPM), during play 113 +/- 18, and during rest after play 100 +/- 24 BPM. Mean maximal HR of holes were 135 +/- 21 BPM. Mean systolic blood pressure was 145 +/- 30 before play, 137 +/- 31 on tees during play and 119 +/- 15 mmHg after play. A mean of 82 +/- 51 minutes was spent at 50-74% of HRmax reserve. 21 +/- 27 and 23 +/- 38 minutes were spent in the two higher intensity classes. An average of 106 +/- 77 minutes were spent at or above the individual heart rate equivalent of 100 W, the mean heart rate for this time was 128 +/- 17 BPM. Creatine kinase (+47%; p < 0.001), uric acid (+9%; p < 0.001) and HDL-cholesterol (+6%; p < 0.05) increased, triglycerides decreased by 18% (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: The HR level during the golfround not using an electric cart relative to the maximum attained on the ergometer reaches the exercise intensity of 50 to > 85% HRmax reserve for a mean of over 2 hours, much longer than the 20-60 min recommended for endurance training.