Clay pigeon shooting is a hugely satisfying sport. But you might not be aware of the many health benefits attached to going to a shoot. Believe it or not, the health benefits can range from muscle building all the way to improving mental health.
So you have even more of an excuse to give it a try, we’ve collated the top five health benefits of clay pigeon shooting – it’s truly amazing what some flying targets can do!
1. Strengthens muscles you might not expect
As you know, successful clay pigeon shooting requires a good firm grip of the gun which strengthens your hands, arms and shoulders. You might be too busy eyeing up the target to notice it, but the muscles in these body parts are working hard. You’re also getting a full-body workout every time you fight to keep stable by countering the release of the gun’s force.
Your body’s core is also getting a bonus workout while you hold the correct posture, as this works your back and abdominal muscles. Let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun than doing sit-ups at the gym! You’ll also be pleased to know that exercise helps build bone density, thus helping to prevent osteoporosis later in life.
2. Boosts balance and energy
We often take our balance for granted because it helps us with daily tasks as simple as climbing stairs. Unfortunately, our balance naturally declines as we age, which is why nasty falls are so prevalent in people over 65.
The good news is that we can slow and even prevent this decline by strengthening our core and leg muscles. On a shoot, your legs and core work hard to keep you balanced when your gun recoils. With enough practice, you’ll enjoy a noticeable boost to your balance which will improve your everyday life.
Alongside this boosted balance comes boosted energy, as exercise has been shown to dramatically increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and other associated illnesses.
3. Improves your mental health
Physical health often takes priority over mental health because the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses can often be overlooked.
Clay pigeon shooting requires an enormous amount of concentration which gives your mind a break from the thought-patterns associated with stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions. Shooting requires you to focus on the present moment and listen to your body, some of the techniques used in mindfulness training.
Sports like shooting also boost confidence and self-esteem, builds friendships, and keeps us active. Staying active also helps our sleep, and since that is where our body recovers from a busy day, this increased activity means you’ll wake up refreshed more often. Not convinced? Check out this study which found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise every week can boost sleep quality by a whopping 65%!
Not only this, but clay pigeon shooting is an outdoor sport and exposure to nature has been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, independently from exercise – so, a combination of the two is definitely a winning combination for our minds!
4. Sharpens mental discipline
Living in the 21st century means we have distractions everywhere and it can be difficult focusing for an extended period of time. The great thing about shooting is that you need to ignore all distractions and focus solely on hitting the clay.
If you regularly find yourself at the shooting range, you’ll notice in the long term that your concentration and all-around mental discipline will be sharpened.
Furthermore, exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
5. Makes you happy
Clay pigeon shooting might make you very happy in the moment that you successfully hit a clay, but exercise has a much greater impact on your overall happiness. It’s been shown to improve your mood and banish feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Exercise does this by helping your brain produce hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine which help relieve a depressed mood.
We know what you’re thinking: clay pigeon shooting can’t be intense enough to alleviate such hormonal mood swings. But that’s not the case! Studies have shown that no matter how intense the exercise or physical activity, your mood will benefit.