It’s been established that physical exercise has a positive effect on both one’s physical and mental health. Physical stimulation not only ensures that your muscles and cardiovascular system get the exercise that they need, but it helps with blood flow to your brain and extremities that might otherwise not be used if you were sitting behind a desk all day. For those of us who spend most of our time behind a screen, it’s important to have a physical hobby we can use to ensure that our bodies and minds get the stimulation that they need. This being said, archery is a great way to exercise your mind and body, but what exactly are the benefits of archery? Let’s have a look at what the benefits of archery are, including physical and mental gains.
What Are the Benefits of Archery?
As we mentioned there are loads of health benefits to practicing archery, and while most people assume that the benefits are purely physical, there are also loads of psychological and emotional upsides to practicing archery. This being said, let’s have a look at some of the benefits you could potentially experience from regularly practicing archery. Keep in mind that you should practice any physical exercise in moderation to avoid injury.
Physical Benefits of Archery
What are the physical benefits to be obtained from archery? Most archery benefits are physical due to the strenuous nature of drawing a bow and firing an arrow. Even using a crossbow uses a combination of upper and lower body muscles, and the more you make use of them the more they are developed. It is therefore important to stretch and limber up if you have a long day of archery ahead of you.
Besides simply drawing the bow and releasing the arrow, there is a lot of physical endurance required to practice archery on a professional level. During the Olympic games, archers are capable of burning more than 1000 calories during an event. Even when they aren’t lining up their shots and taking them, archers can expend copious amounts of energy simply getting themselves to the next event.
Power and Weight Transfer Development
Consider the fact that Olympic-level archers can walk well over five miles during an archery match, and that’s just in one day of competition! Archery also uses loads of muscles in the upper and lower back due to the power being transferred from the legs and then stored in the back when the bow is being drawn. Even though it works some muscles more than others, archery does work nearly every muscle in the body, including the brain!
Other archery benefits for your physical form include a noticeable increase in strength. If you think about it carefully, the constant short bursts of stimulation to your back, shoulders, pectoral, biceps, and forearms muscles will inevitably create an increase in strength since they’re being used so repetitively. What are the physical benefits to be obtained from archery? Physical endurance, an increase in muscle mass, an increase in power output, and the development of muscle memory, just to name a few.
All of this being said, if your life has you sitting behind a desk all day and you don’t want to join a gym to stay relatively fit, archery is a fun and easy way for you to ensure you’re in good shape. Plus, while you’re busy staying fit, you’ll develop a new skill that you can use if you ever decide to go bowhunting with some friends.
Control of Fine Motor Function
Another aspect of self that archery tends to develop is control of your fine motor functions. Most of us don’t realize how clumsy and unrefined our movements can be in our day-to-day lives until we accidentally bruise ourselves simply by walking around. Archery will create an acute awareness of muscle tension, which groups are being used, how strong certain parts of your body are, and how small changes in your stance and strength can affect the outcome of your shot.
Prevents Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Even though archery primarily consists of you repeating the same movements over and over again it actually assists in preventing repetitive strain injury. How? Well, we tend not to bend our fingers and even our wrists beyond a certain point in everyday life. Archery ensures that you exercise your full range of motion for these body parts thereby preventing any strain-related injuries that might occur.
Develops Breathing Control
If you’re prone to bouts of anxiety and/or panic attacks, practicing archery could improve your ability to handle your breathing in instances where you feel an attack is about to occur. Being able to control your breathing and heart rate are skills you will develop as a result of shooting regularly, as a stable heart rate and breathing pattern will allow you to focus and take the best possible aim at your target.
Mental Benefits of Archery
Besides the physical benefits of archery, there are other positives to consider too. For one, there are loads of mental benefits to practicing archery or a sport like it, as it helps to improve your ability to focus both generally and on demand. This doesn’t mean just focusing on your target, but you should be able to maintain focus on your form, breathing, and follow-through once you’ve lined up your shot.
Another aspect of archery that is often overlooked by newcomers is just home much you’ll be interacting with people. This is especially true if you’re going to be participating in competitions or hunting excursions. Not only will watching and participating in archery with other people improve your skills but improve your social skills and collaborative abilities to a certain degree.
Improved Hand and Eye Coordination
If interacting with people isn’t your thing, then you should consider how much it will improve your coordination over time. It’s a common misconception that hand-eye coordination is a physical attribute when in reality you’re forming new neural pathways through repetition which won’t only improve your shooting ability, but your reflexes and problem-solving abilities overall.
Can Improve Confidence and Assist With Anxiety
Developing a skill in general, whether it be archery or anything else has an effect that usually is only noticeable in retrospect. When you become proficient at something, it can do a lot for confidence and charisma. Knowing that you’re good at something can affect the way you speak, carry yourself, and improve your overall mood in everyday life too.
Already have all the confidence you need? Lucky you! There are loads of other virtues that can be attained through the practice of archery, but one that is arguably the most useful is patience. Having patience can benefit you greatly in your everyday life, and when practicing archery, it can mean the difference between missing your mark completely or making the best shot of your career.
Let’s say that you aren’t looking to develop new skills. You could simply want to do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen for a few hours, and if this is the case, you’ll be happy to know that archery is a great way to relax too. Great serenity can be found in simply lining up a shot on a quiet afternoon and letting the arrow fly, even if you’re not aiming for anything in particular. This is considered to be one of the many mental and physical benefits of archery.
Freedom of Participation
There are many sports that prohibit participation by those who don’t meet certain criteria either for the sake of fairness or in the interest of your safety. Thankfully, regardless of your fitness level, height, or age you can safely learn how to use a bow and arrow, and you can do so on your own or with others depending on what you prefer. Most local archery groups consist of archery of mixed ability, so whether you’re a seasoned archer or a newcomer you’ll likely fit right in!
Can Develop Stress Management Abilities
This might seem a bit silly but it is one of the benefits of learning to use any projectile weapon. As your skill develops and you learn to fire your bow in different scenarios, your ability to process and work through stressful situations will improve gradually. Whether it be wind, loud noises, rain, excessive exposure to sunlight, a minor injury, or simply a mental block, you’ll find out that you can work your way through anything with enough practice and the right attitude.
Now that you know about some of the physical benefits of practicing archery, some of the mental benefits of practicing archery, and how much benefit firing a bow in your free time can bring to your everyday life in general, it’s time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to always stretch before operating a bow and to develop your skills at your own pace.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Main Goal of Archery?
What is the main goal of archery? Well, objectively speaking the main goal of archery is to hit the target in question and, depending on the nature of the practice or competition, this could require you to hit a specific spot on the target.
Does Archery Make You Stronger?
Does archery make you stronger? Absolutely. Archery makes use of several muscle groups to fire an arrow, take aim, prepare your stance, and draw your bow. Archery can arguably be considered a full-body and mental workout.
How Do You Win in Archery?
This largely depends on the nature of the competition but generally speaking archery is won by the participant who accumulates the most points. Different points are awarded for hitting specific spots on the archery target, with the most points being awarded for hitting the most challenging spots.