6 Awesome Health Benefits of Archery

Strength and flexibility are important when shooting archery.
Strength and flexibility are important when shooting archery.

1. Focus.

Archers learn to tune out all distractions, focus on their form, and release the bowstring consistently. Concentrating during archery practice can help you focus better in other areas of life too. Competing in tournaments is also good practice for coping with high-pressure situations.

2. Strength.

Strengthen your arms, core, hands, chest and shoulders by practicing a proper draw. Trying to draw a bow with too much draw weight can cause injury, so begin by having a professional set your bow to the correct draw weight. As you build strength and skill, increase your draw weight.

3. Coordination.

Many things must happen quickly to execute a good shot. Place your feet. Nock your arrow. Grip the bow, but not too firmly. Push the bow away while pulling the bowstring. Find your anchor point. Release. Many of these steps take just a few seconds, but each affects your shot. Don’t worry. Consistent practice builds muscle memory, and your shooting becomes more instinctive.

Stephen Amell/Oliver Queen muscles aren’t required to enjoy archery's health benefits. Photo: Entertainment Weekly

Stephen Amell/Oliver Queen muscles aren’t required to enjoy archery’s health benefits. Photo: Entertainment Weekly

4. Exercise.

Besides working your upper body by drawing your bow, you can expect to walk a lot while bowhunting, or when moving between targets when shooting target archery or 3-D archery. If you don’t walk during practice sessions, Prevention magazine says drawing a bow burns about 140 calories per half-hour, the same as walking at a brisk, 3.5-mph pace.

5. Confidence.

In archery, you can compete against others or against yourself. But the sport isn’t just about hitting bull’s-eyes. Shooting your bow and improving your form with practice also builds self-esteem.

New York Sport Club offered a “Hunger Games” archery workout class. Photo: Coyne PR

New York Sport Club offered a “Hunger Games” archery workout class. Photo: Coyne PR

6. Relaxation.

Actress Danika Yarosh, 16, said, “The thing that surprised me the most [about archery] was how calming and stress-relieving it was.” Releasing an arrow, watching it fly, and hearing it strike a target can relieve stress. It makes sense. If you’re learning to focus while building strength and confidence – all while doing a fun exercise – how couldn’t it relieve stress? Interested in archery? Check out Getting Started in Archery and 5 Fun Ways to Get Started in Archery Right Now.

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