Triggered yet? 

Whether you do it for sport or food, you already know shooting is a rush. But health benefits? Really?

Yeah, really.

Discovering that shooting guns is good for you is like learning your favourite snack food is full of vitamins. But it’s true, and it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Shooting combines the physical elements of posture, balance, and strength with the mental components of focus and discipline – bringing together muscular and psychological qualities in a similar way as a yoga class. The good news is you get the same mind/body benefits even if you don’t say “Namaste” after you’re locked and loaded (although it would be worth the reaction if you did!).

Pay attention to these 5 specific areas the next time you’re aiming your gun and ringing steel. Knowing you could be improving your overall health while having fun will make the experience even more rewarding:

1. Concentration: You’ll never hit a target with good vision and strength alone. Accurate shooting is 90% state of mind. The ability to tune out distractions, regulate breathing, and focus on a target requires an almost meditative level of concentration. Experts consider this to be the single most important factor in shooting.

2. Upper-body conditioning: Maintaining arm position while aiming and maintaining a firm grip during recoil requires the raw strength and fine-motor skill of an athlete. You’ll learn a lot about your forearms and grip the moment you squeeze the trigger. If those areas need work, you can find exercises and equipment designed to develop shooting strength. If you’re an experienced shooter, regular sessions are a great way to maintain your arm, wrist and hand strength.

3. Posture: Your stance is, quite literally, the foundation of your shooting technique. Firing a gun begins with properly-positioned feet working together with your legs and abdominal core to achieve balance. If your lower body is strong and aligned, your back down to your heels should feel relaxed yet solid. On the other hand, if you feel strain in your back or legs after a session, it may be a sign to work on those weaker areas.  

4. Eyesight: We spend so much time in front of computer screens that our eyes become vulnerable to digital eye strain, resulting in headaches, neck pain, eye fatigue, and reduced vision. Aiming a firearm naturally focuses your eyes on a faraway target, which is an exercise recommended by optometrists.

5. Discipline: Checking your gun. Getting out to the range regularly. Stamina. Knowing when and when NOT to take the shot. Developing these decision-making skills will give you a heightened attention to detail and improve your ability to manage time. Mental discipline not only makes you a better shooter, it’s a quality that enhances every aspect of your life.

Next time you’re discussing shooting with any skeptical friends, show them this list and, who knows, maybe it’ll trigger them to try it out for themselves.

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Have fun and shoot responsibly!

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