Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Healthy Living with Golf

If you’re looking for a golf course to play a round with friends or simply work on your drive, you’ve definitely got plenty of options to choose from in Monmouth County. With six public courses made available through your Monmouth County Park System, you could spend more time trying to decide on a course than actually playing! Each year more than 200,000 rounds are played on our courses. Our facilities can accommodate golfers of all skill levels, so whether you’re a beginner, amateur, expert, or somewhere in between, Monmouth County courses provide something for everyone. We offer five championship 18-hole courses, two 18-hole executive courses, a 9-hole, par 3 course, and three warm-up ranges. Learn about them all by clicking here.
"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated. It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind ever invented." - Arnold Palmer
But did you also know that studies show golf could be one of the healthiest activities you can do? There are so many health benefits to playing golf that it would fill the pages of a book versus the limits of this blog post! From a health perspective, golf is the perfect form of exercise, providing a diverse workout and helping to lay the foundations for a more active life. There are numerous ways in which you can keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, it just so happens that regularly engaging in a round of golf can offer the same benefits as other forms of exercise! To be good at most sports like football, tennis, basketball, baseball, swimming or athletics, you have to be very strong, fast or physically fit. Not for golf. Golfers come in all shapes and sizes, from youths to seniors. Moreover, it is a low-impact sport that further demonstrates a wide variety of mental and physical health benefits for people of all ages. 

Unlike other intense sports, golf is a game that fosters conversation. In much the same vein, it becomes a great way to spend time with friends and provide opportunities to meet new people. Golf can even be the best form of Ecotherapy, otherwise known as "green exercise" which emphasizes the importance of combining exercise with an outdoor activity. Basking in nature on an 18-hole course provides health benefits for both mind and body. So grab your clubs and play some golf. Your body will thank you!

Various studies have highlighted some ways that heading out for 18 holes can make you healthier:
  • Mental Alertness - Golf is as much a mental game as it is a physical game. The required concentration as you set up your next shot and maintain good form, visualize yourself succeeding, and plot out your strategy sends blood rushing to your brain just as much as walking the course. Golf teaches problem solving and keeps the mind sharp. Clive Ballard, Director of Research at the Alzheimer’s Society, says: “Whether it is going for a jog or walking the golf course, keeping physically active is a great way to keep your heart and your brain healthy. By keeping active you make sure your brain has a good, strong blood supply, which is essential to help it function better now and in the future.” 
  • Provides Stress Relief and Boosts Mood - Aside from the physical benefits, being out and about in a setting as beautiful as a golf course with plenty of fresh air is believed to be able to improve your mental well-being, as well as benefit those suffering with stress or anxiety. A study conducted by the University of Essex found that the pleasure of walking in fresh air with an added mental challenge releases endorphins, the natural mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain, which make you feel happy and relaxed. 
  • Increases Life Expectancy - Want to live your longest, healthiest life? Golf could be the key to longevity. According to the Golf & Health Project, supported by the World Golf Foundation, golf can be expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and colon and breast cancer. 
  • Improves Vitamin D Intake - Vitamin D is an important nutrient that your body is able to synthesize naturally when it’s exposed to sufficient levels of sunlight. Fortunately, the sun is an excellent (and free!) source of vitamin D. During the summer and fall months, playing a round of golf may be an excellent means of ensuring your body can produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D. It has been shown to reduce your risk of cancer, help your bones maintain appropriate calcium levels, boost your immune system, boost your mood, prevent or reduce chronic diseases, and much more. 
  • Weight Loss - Golf is a form of exercise that contributes to healthy weight loss. You’ve probably heard health professionals mention that 10,000 steps per day is the golden number to achieve weight-loss. Berkeley Wellness reported findings from a study that indicated a full 18-hole round easily exceeds the recommendation. Players who choose to ride in a golf buggy rather than walking, or wish to play a shortened round of 9-holes, will still expend more calories than a strenuous, lengthy gym workout!
Not currently a golfer but interested in learning to play? Be sure to check out the Park System's golf lessons available for all levels. 

We'll see you on the greens!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Monmouth County Fair is Coming!

The highlight of the summer has arrived! Organized and presented by the Monmouth County Park System in cooperation with the Monmouth County 4-H, the 44th annual Monmouth County Fair returns to East Freehold Showgrounds on Wednesday-Sunday, July 25-29. Whether it’s a family tradition or your first time visiting, this five-day event offers fun for all ages with musical entertainment, a variety of food vendors, rides, home and garden competitions and exhibits, and so much more!


Sure to delight thrill seekers of all ages! This year's rides are once again provided by Reithoffer
Shows. Two rides areas will be available, one for smaller children's rides and another for the thrill seekers in your family. Wristbands can be purchased every night at a cost of $25 on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and $30 on Friday and Saturday. Single ride tickets will also be available for purchase. Ride wristbands are also available for early-bird purchase on the Reithoffer Shows website for $25; early-bird sales end on July 24. There will also be a variety of fun carnival-style games you can play as well! 


Entertainment has always been a big part of the Fair and this year’s performers promise to deliver! Each day is filled with fun and excitement! There will be plenty of returning favorites that are always a hit with families, such as Bwana Jim’s Wildlife Show where you can catch a glimpse at wild animals such as snakes, alligators, hawks, owls, turtles and more. Be sure to check out Mutts Gone Nuts, featuring everyone’s favorite four-legged pets showcasing their skills, their personalities, and their senses of humor as they complete tricks and jumps. Hell on Wheels BMX Stunt Show also returns this year with an exhilarating performance that's sure to fill spectators with excitement. Other fun and exciting events include Wheel of Destiny, Robinson's Racing Pigs, and Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy.

And don’t forget our musical entertainment! The Moroccan Sheepherders kick things off on Wednesday night, performing a mix of classic rock covers and original music at 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. On Thursday night, vibe out with The Chuck Lambert Band at 8:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Friday night, be inspired by the young and talented group Musicians on a Mission at 8:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. with a performance that brings awareness and funds for local charitable organizations through planned musical events that showcase New Jersey performers. There are a lot of cover bands out there, but there’s only one that can kick off a Saturday night like the Jimmy Buffet & Friends Tribute Band, scheduled to perform at 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Come experience the ViRAGO Music Celtic Trio as they bring the Fair to a close on Sunday with their mix of ethnic melodies and rhythms with original songs at 12 p.m. & 1:45 p.m. 

Vendors & Exhibits

There are plenty of vendors and exhibits to visit during the Monmouth County Fair as well! From shopping to eating, you’ll find a variety of booths. There are over 25 food vendors if you need a bite to eat, so don’t worry there will be plenty to choose from, including our first ever vegan vendor! Be sure to support local Monmouth County businesses at the Made in Monmouth tent where you’ll find an assortment of products made in Monmouth County that may include unique household and decorative items, jewelry, specialty foods and pet accessories. At the Grown in Monmouth booth you’ll learn about this new and exciting program designed to help retain and grow the County’s Agricultural industry. Other highlights include a variety of Monmouth County 4-H exhibits and events such as animal shows, contests, demonstrations and entertainment. The Home & Garden Tent features entries in a variety of competitions from photography to painting, fruits and vegetables to baking, plus daily demonstrations that may spark your interest in learning something new. If you’re a history buff, stop by the Living History Tent and learn about the county’s rich agricultural environment through hands-on activities and demonstrations. 

The Monmouth County Fair is open from 5-11 p.m. on Wednesday-Friday, July 25-27; 3-11 p.m. on Saturday, July 28; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, July 29. Admission is $8 per person; children 12 and under are free. For more information about the Fair, visit www.MonmouthCountyFair.com, or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.