Fitness: Archery Targets your Health

Could you benefit from more focus and strength in your life? I’ve got a workout for you: archery.

¿Qué son esas Robin Hoodeadas?

Archery is often overlooked as a recreational sport. Yet strength is key.

Getting stronger is one of the reasons I agreed when a friend invited me to share a lesson at an indoor range (plus always being up to try new fitness activities).

I expected to have fun. I never guessed that within a year, I would own my own bow, practice weekly, compete, and even teach archery to students.

I’m not the only one who is hooked. Interest in archery is skyrocketing, particularly among young girls, thanks to the bow-slinging heroines of hit movies The Hunger Games and Brave.

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Target Archery at Outdoor Range Courtesy: @BrandiBernoski

Why did I fall in love with archery? It makes me feel amazing, mentally and physically.

Like my favorite exercise that I write about in Fitness: 45 Minute and Fitness: ¡Feelin’ Hot! about Hot Power Yoga, success in archery demands repetition and mental focus.

Knock the arrow, draw, aim, release.

Repeat.

Again.

And again.

It is also surprisingly calming with the required laser focus quieting my mind.

Zen elements aside, archery is hard-core strength training. Drawing a bow is a great workout for arms, chest, shoulders, and your back. Aiming requires balance, strengthening your core muscles. You will look as invincible as you feel!

Other perks? Archery is a great way to get outdoors and can be done alone or with friends.

I’m interested… but won’t I get bored shooting at a target too long?

There are several popular styles to choose from. Find one that’s right for you.

I practice target archery, which entails shooting at a fixed target on an indoor or outdoor range anywhere from 20 to 90 meters away. You might recognize this style from the Olympics.

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Indoor Target Archery Courtesy: @BrandiBernoski

I’m also excited to try field archery, where archers walk through an outdoor circuit of targets positioned at varying lengths. Think, Hunger Games meets mini-golf.

That sounds great! How do I get started?

Archery: Getting Started

  1. Take a lesson from an experienced archer (equipment stores and indoor ranges often offer discounted introductory classes) and find a place where you canpractice regularly.
  2. Be resourceful: I couldn’t get into a class after my first lesson, so a coworker coached my friend and I in exchange for garden vegetables and baked goods. We now practice at a free outdoor range.
  3. Get equipment such as a bow, arrows, arm guard, and finger tab, although it can get expensive. If you buy, expect to pay at least $150.00. The  investment seems steep at first but will even out if you stick with it, plus you will have more flexibility. For the best bow fit, get advice from a experienced archer or salesperson since you will need the right draw length and weight.

Archery will help you target your mind, body, and overall well-being. That’s what I call hitting a bull’s-eye.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner Fierro

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

What fitness trend are you taking up?

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