When thinking about bowling, our minds often fill with thoughts of fun nights out with friends, relaxing after-hours with coworkers, or even childhood birthday parties. So, it may surprise most to realize that bowling is also great exercise.
The best part is: there are almost no limits on who can bowl. It's a low impact, easy-to-learn sport, making it great for all ages, from young children to senior citizens. Some bowling alleys even have specialty lanes for people in wheelchairs and those who are visually impaired.
So if you already love bowling, or are looking for a fun new way to burn some calories, here are all the health benefits you can expect from bowling just one night a week.
The average bowler walks up to 60 feet every turn, which totals more than half a mile in a standard three-game series. Bowling burns anywhere from 175-300 calories an hour – which is the equivalent of jumping rope for 25 minutes.
The average bowling ball weighs around 14 pounds. When you repeatedly swing and release the ball, that 14-pound weight tones your shoulders, arms, chest, and legs. Gripping the ball itself strengthens the muscles in your hands. During a three-series game, you'll throw the bowl an average of 54 times. That's a lot of reps!
Improved Flexibility and Balance
While we're on the subject of throwing a 14-pound ball, your strength isn't the only thing that will benefit from this repeated motion. The twisting, lunging, and stretching bowling requires improves your flexibility. Every time you extend your arm and body, your joints, ligaments, and muscles are extending with it. Not to mention, carrying extra weight on your upper half leads your lower half to offset the difference with improved balance and poster.
Better Hand-Eye Coordination
Throwing a ball and striking a group of pins nearly 60 feet away requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. Think about it. In basketball, the half court line is 47 feet to the net – which means you're throwing a bowling ball further than NBA players going for that game-winning play. What's even better? Coordination improves with practice over time, so the more you bowl, the better you'll get.
Improved social life
Bowling is a social sport. Whenever you're not on the lane, you're usually hanging out with your teammates and friends. According to Psychology Today, people who socialize even once a week tend to have a stronger immunity, and are at less likely to suffer from depression and certain types of cancer.
Overall, bowling is great stress reliever. While we all have our off nights, the physical exercise and socialization associated with bowling far outweighs the benefits to your body than the frustration of the odd gutter ball. So, next time you're at the lanes, remember: it's not just fun. It's good for you.