Every year it’s the same thing: you resolve to work out more and lose weight in the new year, only to remember on January 2nd that you hate exercising. It’s happened to the best of us. After all, exercising requires time, commitment, and money if you invest in a gym membership or your own equipment. But when one long workout wears you out, you may decide to give up on your resolution. There has to be a way to tone muscles and stay in shape without making yourself miserable in the process, right?

If you hate exercising but love the feeling of accomplishment and wellness that follows a good workout, then you will love playing golf. Golf is a low impact sport that allows you to center your mind and body, while keeping yourself in good shape without noticing that you’re doing it. Here’s why golf should be part of your exercise routine this year.

Work out, without knowing that you're working out

Playing golf for exercise is a great way to improve your physical strength, balance and coordination while also sharpening your mental skills. Playing 18 holes of golf requires you to use strategy and concentration, especially with a “target” style course that has many hazards.

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It also requires you to do a lot of walking, which we all know is good exercise. An average golf course is approximately 5 miles, so if you skip the golf cart, you can get a good workout just by walking. And if you’re carrying your clubs, you’ll burn even more calories and improve upper body strength.

Experts suggest that walking an 18 hole course 3-5 times a week is the optimal amount of endurance exercise for a healthy heart. Once you feel your cardio has plateaued, choose a course with high slope ratings for a challenge.

And have fun in the process

Golf is a fascinating sport that challenges the player to outdo themselves. For some, this drive is even more motivating than running a few miles on a treadmill. And in addition to the physical benefits, you can have fun while playing golf for exercise.

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Investing in golf may even motivate you to return to more traditional exercise in order to lower your handicap. If you really want to improve, working out the most important muscles for golf will ensure your body is optimized to perform on the course.