Many people are taking their exercise indoors with the colder weather approaching. Indoor bowling is an enjoyable social activity and it offers a few fitness benefits such as improving coordination and flexibility.
More than 130 muscles are used when bowling, and about 450 calories can be burned in an hour of steady bowling – *if* you steer clear of the calorie-dense foods and drinks available!
Bowling doesn’t require a high level of fitness and its camaraderie and competition appeals to many. And it can be an appropriate challenge for the mind, as bowling does require some strategy.
It’s a sport for any age, from kids old enough to walk steadily, to their grandparents enjoying the activity with them. It’s also a game suitable and popular with people with disabilities: many bowling lanes have special ramps to accommodate wheelchair users.
Bowling is relatively injury free, but there are some cautions. Those with severe low back problems may aggravate their injury: swinging the ball with the arm extended puts more torque on the lower back. People with shoulder or wrist injuries could aggravate those problems with consistent bowling. Take frequent rests or use a wrist splint. And there’s always the risk of crushing your fingers between the heavier balls used in 10-pin bowling. Children, especially, should be supervised to avoid accidents. And all bowlers must wear proper footwear, supplied by bowling lanes.
Bowlers who bring their own shoes should avoid storing their shoes in their vehicle. The shoes can become damp. The foot must be able to slide before the ball is released and if the sole of your shoe sticks, you’ll risk injury to the knees or back. If you own your own shoes, keep them at home or in a locker at the lanes.
Bowling may seem like a mild activity, but any activity your body isn’t used to should be introduced gradually. Even those in excellent physical condition are bound to be sore the next day, especially if they’ve overdone it.
For your first time out, start with a lighter ball (if possible) and don’t bowl too many games. Warming up the muscles (with various arm/shoulder rotations and squats or lunges) before you play may also help reduce some of the muscle soreness. It may also help to stretch your muscles after each throw and again at the end of your game.
Bowling could be right up your alley, especially if you really don’t like standard exercise programs!
november 2017 INSPIRED senior living
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