Fitness benefits of archery

How to get fit through archery

Archery is a sport demanding a range of skills from a steady hand, strong shoulders, flexible muscles, a keen eye and a cool disposition. Archery has a number of health and fitness benefits, as well as being an enjoyable and very social sport. Here's the guide to getting involved with archery.

Most of us are familiar with the image of Robin Hood executing the ‘impossible’ by firing an arrow to split the shaft of one already in the target, and archers still term the act a ‘Robin Hood’ today.

The popularity of the sport seems to coincide with the release of the latest Hollywood blockbuster or TV series featuring the expert archer at his craft. The 1994 film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves created a big surge of interest as have The Lord of the Rings movies which have inspired thousands of people to take up archery.

Archery equipment has improved in its technology, but the sport remains essentially unchanged. Modern bows are made of a combination of wood, coated with carbon fiber, fiberglass or ceramic. The arrows consists of a carbon or aluminum shaft with a steel head, and can at speeds of around 149mph (240kph).

Today, archery is classified into two areas: target and field. Target archery requires archers to shoot specific number of arrows at set targets that have established values, for example a bullseye being 10 points.

Field archery includes an open-field target range where archers shoot different arrows at different targets or different distances around a course. This simulates the type of shooting experienced while hunting.

Target archery was a feature of the Olympic Games several times from 1900 to 1920, but did not reappear until Munich in 1972 and has remained a fixture ever since. Individual archers, or archers in teams, compete in head-to-head matches in single elimination. The semi-finals winners decide the gold and silver medals in the final, and the semi-finals losers shoot for the bronze.

The archers shoot at targets 70m (229.65ft) away. The target is 1.22m (4ft) in diameter and marked with 10 concentric rings. The center ring, or bullseye, measures 12.2cm (4.8in) in diameter. The outer ring counts as one, and the rings in between increase by one point in value as they near the 10-point center bullseye.

Health and fitness benefits of archery
Archery offers a number of health and fitness benefits, including:

  • Developing arm muscles and upper body strength.
  • Boosting hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Improving mental strength and concentration.
  • Honing the flexibility of the hands and fingers.
  • Freeing the mind from everyday distractions, by focusing it.

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