In archery, one needs focus, precision, control, physical ability, and determination. We find athletes on the top who train every day for long hours. But, even if you use archery for a recreational purpose, it can have great effects on your health.
Indoors or outdoors, competitively or socially, even if it is a stationary sport, it gets you active, burns your calories, and puts you in a better state of mind.
Here, we have compiled a good list of eight health benefits of archery for you!
No matter what your age or gender is or how able you are, you can practice archery. When you physically draw the bow, it expends energy, and so does walking to and from the target to pick up the arrows.
During the London Olympics of 2012, The Economist performed a comparison between the winners of Olympic gold archers and 10 minutes of other activities. It was observed that a male archer, who tops the Olympic podium, burns an approximate of 1,084 calories. This is only 747 calories less than that of a woman in a marathon, but it is more than 1,054 calories of a 100-meter men's sprint. Even though the timeline is different, the point is quite evident.
In different tournaments, it is seen that the archers walk around, roughly, 8 kilometers i.e. 5 miles, on each day. This can help burn 100 to 150 calories every 30 minutes.
Archery is such an exercise that requires short moments of energy bursts from the core muscle. Pulling the bowstring puts the tension on chest, hands, arms, and the large upper back muscles. It even effects some of the non-core areas of the body like the rotator cuffs (these support the shoulders). With correct use and repetition of this exercise helps in strengthening these tissues.
Distractions are not a good thing when it comes to archery. Archers need to learn to maintain their focus during their shot routine. All the disruptions i.e. wind, distance, noise and the competition, requires ignorance to carry out the perfect arrow towards the target. This kind of control on one's mind makes a great impact in various areas of a person's life.
A good shot does not just happen randomly, with wayward thoughts running around your head. The steps that are required for a good shot combines a high precision routine. This routine has to be ingrained in the subconscious and the muscle memory of the archer. Because of so many distractions, and so much happening around the archer, there is a very small room for error. All these factors affect the movements and make them almost instinctive.
Learning archery is easy, but the mastering it is difficult. Though archery is a fun sport, it is quite frustrating. Hence, practicing patience is an essential trait one should have or should develop, for a long-term in the sport. The determination of repeating the precise shot repeatedly is what makes you a better archer; ultimately, making you a better person.
Pressure is something many of us have trouble dealing with. When under pressure, archer maintains their calm and stay accurate by managing their breathing, concentration, and nervousness. You will notice that when you are shooting well the time passes by quite quickly. Though the sport is sociable, when you are on the line, the only thing that matters is you and your bow. This is the perfect time to perform some internal meditation.
As human beings, we are our biggest foe. Even in a competition that is prevalent. Hence, identification of what you need to improve, and setting up a clear goal is quite easy. Results are all based on easily measurable scores. When there is progression, confidence automatically breeds itself. Thus, the best sport that helps you measure your confidence in archery.
There are not many sports that allow the top archer to compete with someone who new to it. Archery tournaments are usually without any barriers. This allows friendships to grow between people from all lifestyles. There is no knowing whom you will be competing next.
Now that we are done with the health benefits of archery. Let's take a trip to the fundamentals of archery that need to be kept in mind as well.
Since archery is a sport, when done correctly, draws on the core strength of the body and the ability to repeat the same motion repeatedly. Top archers are fit from both sides of their body, not just the side that draws the string.
Hence, it important for archers to have a well-balanced that utilizes the following:
- Strength Training
Here is what we suggest, don't just pump the iron, and follow the following tips!
- Stretch, Stretch & Stretch
In archery, stretching is essential. Why? Because you are lifting and pulling the weights to draw on the bow. If you draw on a 20-pound bow with cold muscles, you will end up with an injury, or at the very least soreness. To assist you with stretching, you can start by getting a stretch band from a local archery shop.
It is advised that you use a lightweight stretch band that has less resistance. Tie the band at the approximate draw of your bow and use it for practicing your shot. For an extra stretch shoot with the stretch band in front of the mirror. This will help you in stretching your muscle and perfect your archery technique.
- Your heart is your strength!
We know that archery is a stationary sport. However, that does not mean that you can let cardio slip by. In reality, the archers who have a lower resting heart are able to perform much better in competitions. As recreational or a professional archer, you will most likely feel the thrill and excitement of wanting to hit the perfect target. Hence, cardio is necessary to manage the nerves, and it makes you feel stronger when the less fit archers start slackening. Just about 30 minutes of cardio i.e. walking, jogging, swimming or aerobics, 4 to 5 days a week will help you in bringing down your heart rate when you are under pressure.
- The core of the Archer!
At the core of a great archer, there is a group of nice strong core muscles. For you to be able to shoot a bow, you need to be flexible and strong in terms of the big muscles, because these will be doing most of the work. For example, the lower trapezius does the heavy lifting when you draw on the bow; the abdominals and the latissimus dorsi does the work of keeping you stable and keeps your shoulders low and relaxed when raising the bow. The question is how you can work on those core muscles.
First, you can consider getting a stability ball. It helps provide a great workout routine and makes the exercise time fun and challenging. Another tool that you can use is an archery kit that would include a ball, balance discs, and a foam sticks. You can use these to strengthen your core since these tools are designed for the archers.
Maybe it's time to get into archery, with such benefits, and a great workout regime, one can enhance their health and even lose a little weight. Strengthen yourself physically and mentally with archery, a quite beneficial feat.