Archery is a game of pure focus and technique and also yields many benefits. Some people practice archery as a hobby or pastime while others take this sport seriously and involve themselves in competitions and tournaments. Either way, if you’re looking to improve your archery abilities, follow these top 10 health tips:
- Strengthen upper body: Improving your strength in the upper body will allow you to shoot with greater intensity and precision. A great way to do this is to repeat the same movements for long periods of time to decrease the onset of fatigues, paying particular attention to the muscle that are actively involved in archery. Do some resistance exercises for your upper back and shoulders, which are used to pull back the arrow and maintain and control it there while you aim, and your biceps, which are used to extend the bow arm.
- Improve hand-eye coordination: This is an essential skill in archery. The hands have to work together with the eyes to aim and shoot the arrow toward your desired target. Playing racket sports will definitely help you gain better coordination as well as other activities like playing darts, billiards, and bowling.
- Achieve balance: Achieving a remarkable shot in archery depends on a strong base, something that is developed by a keen sense of balance. Archers will never become successful if they solely try to muscle their way through a shot. Simple activities to increase your balance include: walking backwards, walking heel-to-toe, standing under different conditions (such as with your eyes closed or on awkward surfaces), and grabbing a towel with your feet.
- Have a proper posture: The human body has a natural center and it is critical that an archer’s feet are positioned around that centering point. If they are not, then the shot will certainly be off target. There are three acceptable positions: square (completely square to the target); closed (dominant foot in front, hips closed but facing the target); and open (one foot turned outwards which opens the hips to the target). Your torso should be relaxed, shoulders back in a comfortable position, and turn your head to face the target without leaning forward or straining your neck. Bend your knees slightly to absorb shock from the release of the arrow. Be sure to practice your standing in your preferred stance to ensure familiarity.
- Feed your brain: Green tea has been shown to have great effects on the brain due to its caffeine and L’theanine content. L’theanine is a compound that increases alpha wave activity and can slow the body’s release of caffeine to prevent the onset of a “crash”. Another “brain food” to consider adding to your diet is blueberries. Blueberries have been proven to improve concentration and memory for up to 5 hours after ingestion. With a greater capacity to concentrate, you can improve your focus and perfect your shot.
- Relax your body: Relaxing while you’re doing archery ensures a more accurate shot as well as reduces the stress on the body’s muscle groups. Attempting to attain the longest shot by muscling through it is counter-productive. Aim to keep both your legs and shoulders relaxed during the archery process while keeping your back muscles contracted, as the back the main muscle group contributing to the release of the arrow.
- Increase flexibility: Tightness in your joints and muscles can negatively affect the accuracy of your shooting and may lead to injuries. On the other hand, having an increased range of motion in your shoulders, arms and hips will aid you through the aiming process as lift your arms and turn your trunk. To ensure flexibility, make sure to stretch the body parts that are exerted the most when you shoot, like your arms, shoulders, and trunk. Don’t forget to stretch your legs as well to prevent stiffness from setting in.
- Improve vision: Get your vision regularly checked at an eye doctor to ensure that you have the best sight possible. If you need visual correction, get it, and make sure to take care of your eyes by staying hydrated and eating foods that improve eye health. Eating foods like black currents, kale, carrots and even fresh Alaskan salmon can improve and protect your vision.
- Increase weekly aerobic activity: Though archery may not be the first thing you think of when you think archery, there are many benefits of regular aerobic activity that will help you when you shoot. For example, increased aerobic endurance will increase your oxygen intake capacity can help you last longer through a competition or tournament, delaying fatigue and even helping you maintain your breathing composure just before a shot.
- Exercise your brain: Regularly exercising the brain can ensure your brain is constantly stimulated and is necessary for archery. Some activities you can do to establish cognitive stimulation include mental math, cooking, playing a musical instrument and playing logic games like chess or solving crosswords. With a fresh, stronger mind, you can have accuracy and confidence in your shot by accounting for environmental factors and ensuring well-roundedness in your cognitive ability.
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