We think it can.
From your emotional well-being to upper-body strength, archery offers many wellness benefits. For starters, consider the workout you get when pulling back a bowstring. Assuming the bow has at least a 15-pound draw weight – best for beginners – you’re essentially doing a strength-training workout each time you raise your bow.
As you begin to enjoy archery more and buy gear, the bow’s mass (overall) weight increases a bit. You’ll add weights, called stabilizers, to balance the overall weight of the bow you’re lifting with the draw weight of the string you’re pulling. Add a sight for aiming, and pretty soon both sides of your body get some serious toning. Your arms, shoulders and back muscles all benefit.
One great part of archery often underrated is the walking. When shooting target archery, you walk back and forth on flat ground to targets to pull your arrows every three or six shots. Depending on the distance you shoot, you could walk 20 to 77 yards to retrieve your arrows, which quickly adds up to your recommended 30 minutes per day.
In field or 3-D archery, you hike through the woods and shoot targets at various distances. You’ll try uphill and downhill shots as you become more proficient, which makes you feel like a real-life Amazonian archer! In addition to your woodland hikes, which have great calorie-burning potential, you’ll also soak up lots of oxygen, forest views and dappled sunlight.
Sound peaceful? It’s actually amazing … and good for you.
One of archery’s greatest benefits is its stress-relieving potential. Not only does archery teach you to focus and slow your breathing, it also helps you focus on one thing at a time. Daily struggles seem to melt away when you have a bow in your hands, because archery requires 100 percent of your concentration.
Mindfulness has tremendous benefits, such as alleviating anxiety, increasing productivity, and improving one’s physical health. It can also provide perspective. “When the archer draws the bowstring, he can see the whole world in his bow,” says Paulo Coelho, an archer and celebrated best-selling author who wrote “The Alchemist.”
Coelho practices archery kyudo-style, bowing to the range before shooting. “I use archery as my way of meditation,” Coelho said. “I cannot sit down and just meditate in the classical sense. I am very active. So, I use archery. I have my bow, my arrow, and it is my way to meditate, and this is the only thing that clears my mind.”
Finally, one of archery’s greatest health benefits is that it increases social interactions for those who enjoy activities with friends. It also provides opportunities for solitary meditation for those needing peaceful escapes. We hear many stories about people who met friends and even spouses through archery. Surely, loving interactions with friends and family are some of archery’s greatest health benefits.
Ready to start improving your health, well-being – and maybe your social life – through archery? Stop by your local archery store and change your life for the better!