I'm not exactly morbidly obese, but I could stand to lose one or two or 20 pounds. They'll never make a show called "My 195-Pound Life," but even a little extra weight is bad for you. At least that's always part of my doctor's twice-yearly "How dead would you like to be?" speech.
I've tried many things over the years to get down to my ideal weight, which is what you weigh in Ideal, Georgia, where the gravity is about 9/10ths what it is in other Georgia cities. I've tried eating less junk. I've tried eating more good stuff. I've tried healthy shakes. I've hit many a gym. I've tried jogging, biking and cockfighting -- a sport in which I compiled a respectable 13-10 record against some of our state's toughest chickens before I got arrested for taking a dive during a bout down in Atkinson County.
So, I pretty much gave up on losing weight and decided once again to take up the game of golf. Having spent many years as a sportswriter at various small papers, I've covered enough local golf tournaments and seen enough beer bellies on golf carts that I've never considered it actual exercise.
I was wrong.
The World Golf Foundation estimates that during a typical round of golf, you'll walk about 5 miles and burn up to 2,000 calories. That's if you walk the course. However, even if you ride in a cart as 95 percent of folks seem to do, you can still burn up to 1,300 calories. To put that in perspective, you'd have to hit the gym for almost three hours to burn the same amount of calories.
Of course, when I first began playing golf many moons ago, there was often a cooler of beer on the back of a cart. I suspect I managed to balance out the calorie burning with the beer intake. That meant that I kept everything status quo as far as my weight went, but my game actually seemed to improve around holes 16, 17 and 18 as they improved my odds by placing two pins on the greens that were guarded by pink elephants.
Since I've taken up the game again, though, I walk. I also don't drink beer during my rounds because it's not good for me and it's pretty difficult to drag a giant cooler of ice and beer around the course -- and through the woods and around the lakes where my shots tend to land.
I was doubtful of the World Golf Foundation's claims about the miles walked and calories burned during a round until I got my wife a Fitbit for her upcoming birthday. She wore it during a round of golf, and, indeed, it counted more than 11,000 steps, nearly 5 miles walked and 1,300 calories burned for her. I walked even further, and I get extra exercise on the course throwing clubs and cursing, which are important components of my game. Someday, I'll add other components such as putting and chipping, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.
So, the next time you see me hurling my 5-iron across the fairway and swearing like a sailor (a sailor whose boat is capsizing in a great white shark breeding ground), do not think I'm a bad sport or that I might should pursue another athletic endeavor like finger wrestling, think instead:
"That Chris sure does care about his health!"
Connect with Chris Johnson at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting.