When most people take up archery classes for the first time, they are blown away by how physically demanding this activity can be. After leaving your first session, you're more than inclined to ask, how many calories does archery burn?
It's a confusing question as you look at archery and wonder how it is such a physical activity. Well, in this post, we'll explain just how many calories archery burns - and why it could be a fantastic workout for anyone looking to lose weight. So, if you're keen to start shooting archery or explore a new activity with great health benefits, keep on reading!
How Many Calories Does Archery Burn?
As an exercise, archery is more physical than you think. It requires the use of multiple muscles in your arms and upper body when properly drawing and shooting your bow. Similarly, it's a good hobby because you are constantly standing up and walking around to pick up arrows.
Therefore, if you were to use a calculator to figure out the calories burned per hour of archery shooting, it would tell you that you'd burn between 300 to 400 calories during this session.
Of course, this depends on many different factors. One person may burn more calories per hour than another person. Before we take any exercise into account, human beings burn calories based on:
- Body weight
- Muscle mass
- Birth gender
Remember, a calorie is a unit of energy. It describes how much energy is used when we go about our days. Even if you sat around all day doing nothing, your calories burned for that day would still be in the thousands. This is because we burn calories by simply existing as our body uses energy to exist.
As such, your body composition and gender will be the two key roles determining your calories burned before factoring in any physical activity. Typically, men burn more calories than women. Similarly, individuals with more muscle mass will burn calories at a faster rate than those with a lack of muscle. Why? Because your muscles require more energy to maintain, particularly when compared to body fat.
So, where does archery come into things regarding calories burned? As mentioned above, the average person can burn between 300 to 400 calories per hour partaking in an archery session. However, you can influence the calories burned per session by considering the following:
- The intensity of the session
- The duration of the session
- The weight of the bow
If you were to practice archery with more intensity, you'd burn calories at a faster rate than someone who is just plugging away shooting archery for fun. Similarly, the longer a session goes on, the more calories you will burn. Finally, opting for a strong bow or a heavier bow over the lighter one will demand more physical exertion. This makes your muscles work harder, so more calories get burned.
Does Archery Make a Good Workout?
Firstly, what would you consider a good workout to be?
Primarily, you want something that delivers health benefits. This can mean it helps you lose weight by burning calories, or it incorporates elements of strength training to build muscles. Additionally, a well-rounded workout will help you feel happy and improve your mental health.
As you move through each of these elements, you recognize that archery ticks all of the right boxes.
For starters, consider one of the main acts performed during an archery session. To shoot arrows on an archery range, you will need to pull back the string over and over again. This repetitive movement is very physical and the bow strengthens your upper body muscles. Some of the key muscles that activate during this movement are:
- Rotator cuff
- Upper back
That's a pretty big group of muscles, meaning a lot of strength is developed over time. Plus, when you draw the string back, you place it under so much tension. It takes a huge deal of strength to maintain the tension as you aim at your target. This is also why bow hunting is considered very physically demanding as you spend long periods with the bow drawn under a lot of tension waiting to fire your arrows.
Moreover, your core is targeted a lot during archery. It's one of the key physical health benefits of this activity as you use your core to stabilize your body while taking a shot. Without a strong core - this includes your abs, lower back & hips - you will struggle to shoot arrows in a straight line. When all of these muscles are firing, the calories burned during your session will be extremely high as you're enjoying a pretty intense physical sport.
But wait, there's more!
Alongside the ability to build muscle, archery burns calories by getting you to walk a lot. According to World Archery, you can shoot at ranges between 50 and 90 meters. Typically, the standard archery range will be either 50 or 70m, but you can get longer ones. Now, think about how much walking you will do during an hour-long session - or even just a 30-minute one.
On a 50m range (the smallest there is) you walk 50m to collect your arrows and 50m back. Do this 10 times during the session and that's 1000m of walking! You can really up your steps, allowing you to see the amazing health benefits of walking. Yes, this means you burn fat by burning calories, but it also means you can strengthen your legs at the same time.
Lastly, archery is a great workout from a mental health perspective. Like other sports, it helps to release endorphins, which are hormones in the body that help you feel happy and elated. If you feel stressed or want to let off a lot of steam, archery is a great hobby to try.
Overall, if you take everything into account, archery is definitely a more than worthwhile workout. The average person burns a few hundred calories per hour, and it's a wonderful exercise for building strength and releasing lots of inner tension and stress.
What Exercises Complement Archery?
Those of you that are serious about archery will want to do some extra exercise routines, along with creating healthy food habits, that complement this activity. We've mentioned some of the key muscles involved in archery, so what can you do to strengthen them and see better results in the range?
Here are a few ideas that will build muscle in key areas, allowing you to draw your bow with more confidence and feel more stability during every shot:
- Dumbell raises - lateral or frontal raises will both work. Focus on pausing at the top of the movement to work the shoulders under constant tension. You could even do a static hold and increase the weight each time.
- Shrugs - using either a barbell or dumbbell, shrug your shoulders up and focus on squeezing your traps and upper back together. It's great for strengthening the levator scapular.
- Rows - any rowing exercise will strengthen your upper back and translate into your shooting performance.
- Tricep push-ups - doing this variation of a push-up helps you build strength in your shoulders while also building up your triceps to help stabilize the bow when drawn.
- Core work - try any activities that strengthen your core, including planks or glute bridges. Again, this is great for stability!
As well as these strength training exercises, focus on a bit of cardio at the same time. Some simple activities - like running, walking, or cycling - will build up your cardiovascular endurance and let you practice archery for longer. Thus, you will burn many calories because your sessions go on for longer at a higher intensity.
Is Archery Physically Demanding?
Yes, archery is an activity that demands a lot of physicality - more so than people think. As we have mentioned many times before, the number of calories you burn during a session is very high for a sport like this.
Mainly, the demand comes from the draw weight. This refers to the force needed to pull a bow. An easy way to make archery more or less physical is by altering the draw weight. You can do this by selecting a different type of bow - recurve bows tend to have slightly lower draw weights than longbows. Alternatively, having your bow adjusted will be an easy way to either add or remove tension.
Due to the physical demands, it is important to try the exercises mentioned earlier. The more strength you gain that's relevant to archery, the less demanding the activity will feel. Likewise, stretching is super critical to recovering after archery workouts. Focus on stretching your rotator cuff, shoulders, triceps, and core most of all.
In summary, the number of calories you burn during an hour-long archery session is between 300 and 400. You can influence this by making the activity more demanding - either by upping the draw weight, lengthening the distance you shoot, or increasing your session time. This will help you burn more calories, but archery is also exceptional at helping you develop strength throughout your upper body.If you're keen to take up archery, feel free to check out the fantastic accessories and products on our site. We have everything you need to get started!