Archery is a very historical activity. Records indicate the Egyptians and Greeks were sophisticated archers. Through time, archery has been used to hunt game and in warfare. Nowadays, most people do archery for fun or sport, while some still use it to hunt as a hobby.
You may not realize it but archery is a good way for kids and adults to be active. My first bow and arrow were made of branches I found while playing outside, and a shoe lace; boy did that keep me busy in the back yard. The “arrows” (which were usually small sticks) never launched far so no one got hurt, and my targets were either trees or empty cardboard boxes. Given the resources needed (one shoelace) I sure got a fantastic return on my investment, and so did my mom! It’s all about letting kids be kids and accepting a certain level of risky active play.
For adults, archery can be a fun way to be physically activity different from the usual gym routine. You stand, walk, and holding the bow and pulling back the arrow works your core and back muscles.
Safety is paramount. Practise in a safe setting and always shoot away from people. Take lessons from a club to learn proper technique. Find a club near you.
Good archers know that having strong muscles and good concentration will help you stay steady and shoot straight. Get ready to take your shot – strengthen these two muscles that help archers hit the target:
- Transverse abdominis:
Why: This muscle keeps your core strong and will keep you steady as you focus on the target.
How: Lay on your back with both knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Think of pushing your lower back against the floor and bringing your belly button towards your spine. Lift one leg off the ground, straighten it outwards and return in to the bent knee position, keeping your lower back flat on the ground. Alternate legs 10 -15 times.
- Latissimus dorsi:
Why: This is the muscle predominantly used to pull back the string of your bow.
How: Standing beside a sturdy table, hinge at the hips and place your left arm on the table for support. Your right arm should be dangling below you and be perpendicular to your torso. Pull your right elbow upwards towards your back bringing your hand towards your chest. Hold a weight in your right hand if you want to make the exercise harder. Alternate arms 10 -15 times.
Keep an eye out for archery while watching the Rio Olympics! Archery is a hotly contested discipline; archers have 40 seconds to shoot their six arrows at a target that is 70 meters away. Archery is also an event in the Paralympics and was one of the first sports at the 1960 Paralympic Games.