If there is one sport that has stuck with the United States throughout its history it is bowling. As one of the oldest sports still played in the world, bowling has been as ubiquitous to Americans as the American flag and apple pie. According to The Bowling Federation, over one-quarter of all Americans hit the lanes each year, which makes this the nation’s largest participating sport.
Today’s bowling industry has transformed from the off-colored carpet-draped facilities to impressive family entertainment centers. The sport is a $4 billion institution in the United States, boasting more than 3,000 centers from shore to shore. But, as Health Fitness Revolution notes, bowling is more than a night out with the family, it’s a sport that can offer numerous health benefits.
Muscle toning and strengthening: Carrying the extra weight of the bowling ball while walking from one spot to the next may seem insignificant, but the repetition of the game adds up quickly. Also, swinging your arms during the bowling process involves stretching and flexing, which is enough exercise for your arm tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.
Weight loss: Looking for a good way to slim down? Then go to your bowling center! Bowling helps by speeding up your metabolism. Not because of distance (and especially not because of those nachos!) but because of the constant movement. Think about it, you lift up from your seat to pick up your ball, walk from the ball to the lane, throw the ball down the lane, and repeat in a variety of ways for at least an hour. A three-game series equals walking 3/5ths of a mile and, depending on your weight and dedication to the game you’re bowling, you could be burning between 170 to 300 calories a game. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 200-pound adult is burning 275 calories per hour bowling.
Improve social life: Bowling leagues involve around two million bowlers socializing each week while playing at their local centers, according to The Bowling Foundation. Teams and leagues allow you to meet new people or spend time with your friends. It’s a great way for people new to the city to find new friends and ease loneliness for those who are elderly or live by themselves. Just a once-a-week league can have a large impact in reducing stress and depression, plus increase longevity.
- Reduce risk of disease: Movement is key, again. A sedentary lifestyle is common in the United States and it is plaguing Americans daily. This type of life increases the risk of heart disease, according to WebMD. So, get some movement! Bowling can help lower your risk of stroke, heart attacks, diabetes while increasing bone density, improve your circulation, and help lower your cholestoral and blood pressure levels. Try to bowl once or more each week for optimum benefits.
Can be enjoyed at any age: Little league baseball, pee wee hockey and college sports. They are all create sporting events enjoyed by many families. But bowling is one of the few where you don’t hang things up because you are getting older. Everyone from preschoolers to senior citizens are bowling throughout the country. It is even the fastest-growing high school varsity sport. Because it is a low-impact sport, there is a low risk for injury, meaning you are not “retiring” at 40. In fact, many bowling alleys can accommodate wheelchair-bowlers as well as those who are visually impaired.
- Stress relief: We touched on this earlier but bears repeating for another separate reason. Because you are engaging in a physical activity that is not related to your work or other private life stressors, you are relieving stress. Add in the socialization and you have a physical and mental stress relief double whammy.
- Healthy heart: We mentioned a reduction in hear disease but do you know why? Because you are building relationships and friendships while bowling. That helps your heart muscles. The relaxation of built up stress, the interaction with other people, and the exercise from the game all help your heart muscles. Got a good game going? That adrenaline also increases your heart rate, helping to build and maintain a healthy heart.
- Fun for the whole family: What makes this game so much fun is that so many people can play it. It’s easy to pick up the game at any age and it is easy to play for any skill set. That makes it a wonderful family-fun event. Toss in the automatic scoring and you have a care-free way to spend a few hours with your family and friends. Make it a weekly event for the family and you can help reduce the stress derived from the home.
- Hand-eye coordination: At first, it may seem like the game is a random event with each frame. But the more you throw the ball at the pins, the more you pick up the hand-eye coordination skills needed to bowl a good game. This is the result of building mental alertness, concentration and strategy. These skill additions make it a great sport for young people to sharpen motor skills and for older people to maintain their skills and refine tactics. A win-win situation!