Each sport has the potential to provide unique benefits to its participants. The benefits and values of an eclectic sport such as archery are not the same for all participants. The outcomes are dependent upon such factors as the facet of the sport pursued, the intensity and frequency of participation.
Also, the personal goals and expectations, and many other individual factors related to one's involvement in the sport. Archery brings satisfaction as one achieves periodic improvement in skill level. But in this article, we will focus on the health benefits of archery.
One potential value of archery is that it is also capable of humbling an individual periodically due to its complexity. Both of those types of experiences can be of personal value to human beings throughout our lives.
Mastery of archery and the pursuit of excellence are worthy goals with any conceivable benefits to the individual. The value lies in the pursuit even if the sport is never "mastered"!
Shooting the bow and arrow seems to be an extremely simple procedure to the naive individual:
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE COMPLEXITY OF A SKILL THAT APPEARS TO BE THE EPITOME OF SIMPLICITY WHEN PERFORMED BY AN EXPERT!
The meaning of that statement will become more apparent as you learn about the demands of target archery skill and increase your awareness of the breadth and scope of the various facets of archery.
Those not aware of its many uses and physical requirements may consider archery an "easy sport." (The anatomic and physiologic demands on archers and specific conditioning for the sport are discussed in detail in the website Safariors Blog.)
It is true that an hour of target archery practice in one's backyard or on the local archery range is not as physiologically demanding as comparable time spent playing singles tennis or running. As an example, an hour of anaerobic target archery practice would expend 269 kilocalories of energy for a 152-pound archer.
Jogging an hour at a 9-minute-per-mile pace for the same archer is an aerobic activity that would produce an energy expenditure of 799 kilocalories, that is, 530 more kilocalories than target archery practice. But, there is more to archery than just the acts of nocking, drawing, and releasing the arrow.
The serious target archer as an athlete must prepare for competition by specifically developing his or her strength, muscle endurance, and flexibility to excellent levels. That has the potential to enhance accuracy when combined with regular target practice.
It is also recommended that the target archer's conditioning include work to develop above-average cardiovascular endurance for his or her age as measured by maximal oxygen consumption. If that is accomplished, the archer's daily shooting and conditioning workouts will be just as demanding in terms of energy expenditure as comparable time spent in other sports that many people perceive to be more difficult physiologically than archery, for example, weight training, court sports, running and swimming.
The serious, conditioned bow hunter with rest can also benefit from having a good level of health-related fitness. A total conditioning program in addition to target practice is also recommended for bow hunters. This enhances one's chances of stalking, shooting, field dressing, and packing a large game animal out of the wilderness area for human consumption.
The unconditioned bow hunter may find him or herself in the embarrassing position of being the animal" packed out! That would not endear you to your fellow hunters. Archery in its many forms can be as easy or difficult as the participant desires.
One major benefit of archery is that the participant can find an area within the sport and adjust it to meet his or her own interests, needs, and physical capabilities.