Archery is the practice or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus meaning ‘bow’ or ‘arch’. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat and was invented in the late Palaeolithic or early Mesolithic periods.
The oldest signs of archery’s use in Europe date from around 10,000BC, while in Asia and the Middle East evidence suggests archery originated even earlier. In modern times, it is mainly a competitive sport and recreational activity.
As a competitive sport or a recreational activity, Archery’s place in your life can yield maximum mental health and physical health benefits.
The sport requires immense endurance, strength and determined focus. Therefore, for a sport to have these traits, it must yield many benefits which include:
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- 1 It is a Strength Building Workout?
- 2 It improves hand eye coordination and balance
- 3 Finger and Hand Flexibility:
- 4 It improves your patience:
- 5 It improves determination:
- 6 It improves your social well being:
- 7 It relaxes you:
- 8 It teaches you control:
- 9 Teaches you self confidence:
- 10 Finally, it is open to all!
It is a Strength Building Workout?
The bow, if you haven’t held one yet, depending on its form, is a pretty heavy instrument, clocking in at about 12kgs. Those are some pretty solid dumbbells.
For someone to continuously lift and lengthen and use them for maximum efficiency, you’d have to develop some pretty strong biceps and triceps. The core and abs also get a solid workout from straining to stand rigid and straight all day as well as your posture which much is maintained for proper form and a good shot.
The thighs have to be tensed as well for a shot to be made. So archery involves constantly contracting and relaxing the muscles for a long periods of time thus causing the archer to develop strong, lean and toned muscles from the physical exertion. It is also known that strength training causes a lot of weight to be lost as well.
It improves hand eye coordination and balance
Archery is a sport that requires the hands to work together while performing different tasks such as aiming with your eyesight and focus and firing the arrow based on input from your eyes and mind.
This eye to mind to hand coordination and teamwork improves with constant repetition and practice, increasing your skill for crucial focus and a quick response time.
Balance is also paramount to success in archery, as the body must be held still, solid and rigid while aiming and making a shot.
As you put in more time and work, the core becomes stronger at gaining control of the body’s balance and helps with more focused and accurate shooting.
Finger and Hand Flexibility:
Each and every muscle of your fingers and hands increase in strength and flexibility when you are wielding your bow. Constantly contracting and relaxing all the muscles in your hands will develop your flexibility and will aid in other hobbies that require such motion such as playing instruments such as the piano or the violin.
And of course, you’ll be an expert dart thrower, dazzling your friends at your local sports bar.
You have 17 muscles in each hand and 27 bones and you can be sure they are getting a good workout with your morning archery lessons!
It improves your patience:
Archery requires a tonne of precision so, patience is the mother of precision or so I have been told (don’t quote me on that one). But nevertheless, it is a sport that requires a great deal of focus, calm and patience in order to get that all important shot that lands on the 10 point target.
Patience brings about the willingness to improve, ask questions, trust, and wanting to help others to learn the same lessons as you.
That sort of tolerance and understanding is what patience teaches us. It also teaches us to put away temporary rewards for the bigger long term ones and that is a lesson essential to success.
It improves determination:
Archery is without a doubt, a hard skill to learn. You spent bloody hours trying to get your bow to work, then your aim, then your shot.
It takes a lot of time, patience and will and the determination to get where you want to go (and your shot too). This kind of skill teaches you a hard but crucial lesson, you’re going to need to work hard for where you wanna go, and you’ll have to be determined all the way.
While this does test you, it improves your confidence, self esteem and mental health for the long haul.
Archery is a pretty social sport as it is very open to beginners and people of all skill levels and there is a various group which supports and enthuses about the sport that you can get along with and make friends with people from all walks of life.
Human is inherently social creatures so it is vital and (fun!) for all of us to get some form of social contact on the daily. Being a part of a competitive sport and group can give you a set of people you have things in common with and potentially learn new things from.
You will be able to make friends who you can hang out pretty much anytime you wanna practice with and who keeps you accountable. Plus it will boost your overall confidence and mental well being so, win on both sides!
It relaxes you:
Releasing an arrow, watching it fly, and having it hit a target can relieve stress. The act of focusing while building strength and confidence is overall a satisfying and relaxing experience plus the high you get after getting three good shots in a row is unlike no other.
This is the perfect sport for some reflection and inner meditation as it can require many calm hours to get that perfect shot.
It teaches you control:
Archery is a sport that requires you to be very controlled in your movements as well as tactics and techniques in your mind.
It teaches you discipline in various aspects of your life. This discipline and control can be carried to whatever part of your life you choose to implement it!
Teaches you self confidence:
The competition and the feeling of community whilst building skill and improving yourself is a wonderful feeling.
It teaches you sustained confidence. The challenges, the pitfalls, the support and finally the winning makes you a more fulfilled individual, a feat that can be carried across all aspects of your life to increase well being.
Finally, it is open to all!
Archery does not discriminate based on skill level or disability. In fact, people with disabilities can play the sport from even wheelchairs. This is guaranteed to bring overall happiness to a new higher point. You will meet people varied by enormity but bound by a common bond and you will become comrades in a sport. Plus it’s fun for the whole family!