Archery is an outdoor sport that is sometimes erroneously conceived as basic until the observer decides to give it a trial. It requires a certain amount of strength, focus, and endurance. Notwithstanding, the patience that comes with constant learning and gradual progression pays off with the immeasurable benefits attained by archers.
Fortunately, the sport is open to all ages, gender and even those with disabilities so far the ideal equipment is in place. Archery is not just a sport that requires partial attention, a total involvement of the whole man, that is, undivided attention is critical when an individual is engaged in archery, and the benefits will convince you to give the sport a go due to its additional impact in varying ways. The advantages of archery range from physical to mental, emotional, social, spiritual and other lifestyle benefits that will be further elaborated on.
Physical activity has a huge role to play in the promotion and sustenance of good mental health individually and collectively.
Improves coordination and balance in body development
Continuous practice helps to maintain body balance especially in the aspect of the hand-eye coordination; the practice of archery requires communication to exist between the hand that wields the bow and the eye that views the target thus aiding further development in multi-tasking skills as the archer has to rely on information from two different sources. Improvement is seen in personal coordination in the sport and other activities.
Archery improves strength in the hands and fingers, at the point when the bow is pulled thus generating flexibility.
Body Posture and Blood flow
It assists in the building of strength that leads to muscle development in the major muscle groups of the upper body such as the (arms, hands, chest, and shoulders) during the period the archer holds and releases the string to fore the arrow. Archery promotes general well-being including blood flow and developing a good body posture while standing or sitting.
Tolerance and Patience
They are virtues that most will pay to possess, but few realize that engaging in a high concentration sport like archery increases the way one reacts to unfavorable situations and activities, the sport requires both attributes in order to birth precision and one cannot do without the other in order to achieve the desired effect.
In everyday life, distractions are unavoidable; they are like the air we breathe. Thus the sport requires a high level of sustained concentration that serves as a coping mechanism for stressful and pressure presented situations and events. The routine and discipline attached to the sport serve as a pleasurable distraction when compared with other social engagements. Furthermore, it builds and develops attention skills progressively.
Positively improves one’s view of self
The art of the sport works on areas relating to self-esteem and self-confidence, the overt results are easily viewed in performance level and increase in the level of confidence, a yearning to be competitive and show what you are good at even in a group of the best. The individual no longer wishes to be side-lined or hide in the shadows.
As a form of exercise or relaxation, an avenue is provided to build endurance because archery improves cardiovascular health and muscle tone via walking, aiming and so on.
Sharpens instinctive faculty
The fun game requires one to act quickly when given limited time to think but more time to trust and rely on inborn instincts. Surprisingly, better decisions and precisions are made when one trains intuition. It sharpens the mind, mental faculties, problem-solving skills, and memory.
Advantages of archery apart from its mental benefit include the numerous physical benefits that it provides.
• Weight loss and burning of unwanted fat is a benefit that can be derived from the sport, and it keeps the archer fit, toned and well-muscled. Research has shown that the physical demand of the sport burns a lot of calories.
• Fun/Enjoyment- When you grow weary of the same recreational activities you engage in, archery is a recreational sport that alleviates boredom, monotony, relieves stress and tension because constant improvement is needed, and new phases are created, for instance, you can change the distance of target, the number of arrows used and the size of bow and so on.
• Socialization- The sport is open to people of all ages, skill level, occupations, and gender. Everyone including children, those who are physically challenged, the disabled and the blind can freely participate in archery as a team or individually thus building relations and teamwork. It further eliminates the feeling of isolation.
• Safety- What we consider safe is termed reckless when an archer makes a reckless mistake. Recklessness could easily switch the fun-filled sport to a dangerous one, for instance, if practiced in a residential area with limited space, an archer could accidentally hit a wrong target, that is, property, human or a pet thus becoming a nuisance. Archers are, therefore, taught the value of responsibility to self and others so as to avoid such incidents from occurring.
Humans are social animals, and the sport of archery also covers that area of our life with its all-around advantages. It is of interest to keep in mind that engaging in archery from a young age aids in building a socially-adaptable, outspoken and confident personality. In addition, even though you can learn the art at any age the full benefits are derived when you begin at a much younger age. The social benefits that could be derived include:
a) Character development
This is exemplified in behaviors and situations that call for patience, observation, calculation, tolerance, and analysis in an individual. It helps one to become a better person.
b) Respect for others
During recreational and competitive engagements, one would meet others who are physically and mentally different from self either in school, at the workplace or in social gatherings. The tendency to build a more positive attitude towards them and control any negative reactions that could be shunned at is another habit that is developed from engaging in archery. Learning has been inculcated into the person via observation, his teammates, coach, competitors, and judges. He is more exposed to a variety of persons than others and can manipulate and control his feelings to a socially acceptable one.
c) Cooperation and Time consciousness
The behaviors are formed when one is part of a team and realizes the relevance of time, self and others. He quickly learns the value of time and how to utilize it to meet set goals. In terms of cooperation, he learns that he cannot do all on his own and needs to work and build with others. Also, he is further exposed to the fact that every man is expendable. Thus he focuses on priorities and tries to be the best.
d) Sense of responsibility/Habit formation/Friendship
The sport of archery increases the feeling of being accountable for actions; the training begins from how you take care of self and equipment. Discipline is inculcated into the archer during training, friendships are formed, and bonds are made thus promoting healthy habit adaptation.
e) The sport can be practiced both indoor and outdoor without any form of barriers, limitations related to the weather/season and time; it builds a new sense of freedom.
A major and inescapable advantage of archery is the mind-body synchronicity it embodies just like in yoga. This requires forgoing aim-assist technologies and adopting a traditional bow. It involves not taking the eyes off the target as the arrows and bows are held together, ready to be drawn and fired in quick succession. The interpretation is that “the closer the arrow is to the target determines the minds proximity with the body.” It also provides a path for personal growth.
Secondly, it creates clarity and reconnections to the heart, soul, body, mind, and spirit because it has been said to be a skill that embodies beauty and truth, it tests the physical, mental and spiritual stability of the archer.
• It provides an outlet to release pent-up hidden and negative emotions that cannot be shared or revealed and at the same time promotes positive thinking
• The sport teaches proper attitude and behavior to adopt during stress by maintaining composure
• Consistency is built in the core areas of actions, emotions, feelings/thoughts by learning to delay results that will easily yield immediate gratification.
• Archery helps to tune emotions and thoughts in your favor. One is able to deal with success and failure by training ahead and preparing for challenges thus accumulating a growth mindset.
• Humility and resilience is a benefit of the sport as it offers an avenue to learn how to fail and at the same time gives room for improvement.
• It builds motivation and a heightened state of self-awareness.
In conclusion, apart from the highlighted advantages of archery other positive lifestyle gains include improved sleep, reduced level of stress and feelings of anxiety, increase in brain capacity and formation of real relations with people rather than virtual relations, improved mood, and general well-being.