Today’s Solutions: June 26, 2022

Are you looking for a distinct hobby that will open the door to new social circles, or that you could feature on your online dating profile (hello, conversation starter), all while boosting your mental and physical health? Well, archery might be the one to try.

Archery isn’t as mainstream as a pick-up soccer league, or as common as going to the gym, but it is rising in popularity with archery leagues popping up in several cities. A combination of factors such as social interaction with other archers and a chance to spend some time outdoors while shooting contribute to the surge in interest, however, practicing archery can have surprising benefits for your health, too.

Here are five significant benefits of picking up a bow and arrow.

Increased heart health

Though many people think of running or jumping rope as the main activities that benefit heart health, not very many would envision archery as a cardiovascular exercise. Well, think again! Shooting a bow requires physical exertion that will undoubtedly elevate your heart rate. Plus, there’s quite a lot of walking to and from your target as you retrieve arrows, which burns calories and gets your heart pumping just like any other form of exercise.

Muscle strengthening

When observing someone in the movies draw a bow (like Legolas, for example) it may look smooth and effortless. The reality is that it takes a lot of force on the archer’s behalf, and will probably take some practice to strengthen the muscles before you can make the motion graceful.

Your shoulder, back, chest, arm, and all the core muscles get a workout when pulling back a bowstring—just try it for a day and you’ll definitely feel which muscles are working before long.

Stress relief

Stress plays a role in a plethora of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, so finding effective ways to manage stress and blow off steam is key for protecting your health. 

Archery can offer you this outlet as it usually takes place outdoors and in a tranquil space that can help you escape from your worries and get you out of your head. Plus, regularly practicing any relaxing, stress-relieving activity can potentially increase your longevity by decreasing your chances of developing future medical conditions.

Improve hand-eye coordination

Maintaining and improving the hand-eye coordination that is necessary to be successful as an archer will also help you hone your ability to quickly react physically to visual stimuli. 

This could be a lifesaver in other aspects of life, like while driving.

Increased depth of focus

Part of being able to relay messages to your brain while aiming the arrow is to allow yourself to focus on one, singular task. All other thoughts should fall away so that you can be precise in your arrow placement.

Of course, training your focus is like training any other muscle, and it gets better with practice. Regularly working on your archery will help you apply that focus to other tasks in your life like work or studying.

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