Training bowling

Published on January 11th, 2014 | by Joe Starks


Exercise Spotlight: Bowling

Over 90 countries and around 95 million people worldwide enjoy bowling. It is a fun, social sport, which has become part of many people’s culture. Some of us wonder if bowling can be considered a sport at all, instead of just a slightly active game, but people who bowl often do get some physical benefits from it. Bowling does have its downsides too, sadly enough. In this article we’ll discuss the history of bowling as well as the benefits and downsides it offers.

History of Bowling

A very crude version of bowling toys was found in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian child. If it is true that this game is a predecessor to bowling, the sport might date back to 3500 B.C. We do later know that the ancient Greeks and Roman did play a bowling-like game 4000 years ago.

Modern bowling took its current form in the USA. German, Dutch and English settlers brought their different versions of the game with them to America and from then on it was popular among the poor as well as the rich.

It was in 1895 that the first official American Bowling Congress was born (Men only). In 1917 women of the USA formed the Women’s International Bowling Congress. In the early 20th century the creation of rubber balls, which replaced the old wooden ones, gave the game a lot of popularity. In 1950 television broadcasted bowling games and since then bowling has become more and more loved all over the world.

How to Bowl

The game is pretty easy to learn but very hard to master. The most popular (official) form of bowling is the ten pin bowling. In this game you have a bowling ball, a 62 feet long aisle and a set of ten pins standing in a triangle shape at the opposite end from you. Your aim is simple: hit as many pin with your bowling ball.

If you are playing competitively you keep score and compare the points you earn to those of your opponents. When you manage to strike all ten pin with your first ball you receive a strike. When you strike you count the pins of the next two throws as points. If you hit all ten pins with your second ball you receive a spare. When you have a spare you count only the next throws pins as points towards your score. The person with the most points at the end of the match wins.

Benefits of Bowling

Bowling is by its own right a sport. The balls make for heavy lifting if you play for long enough. You train your upper body mostly when bowling, especially your wrists, one arm and back.

Bowling can be done by anyone at any age. Just make sure you wear the right shoes and choose the right size of bowling ball. Especially children and the elderly should choose lighter bowling ball versions.

Bowling is social. Instead of sitting at a café or on the couch with your friends go bowling instead. You will all have some active, fun time and have some friendly competition going on at the same time. Bowling is also a great way to meet new people. There are plenty of clubs and you can even find a friend in a random client of the bowling center.

Disadvantages of Bowling

Bowling does not train your body equally on both sides. The hand that actually throws the ball certainly gets more training than the other one. The same goes for the wrist, arm and shoulder.

It is very easy to injure your shoulder or wrist when you bowl for too long or aren’t used to this kind of exercise. If you are a beginner you should take things easy and work slowly on your endurance. Start out with lighter balls and wear a wrist-guard if you have sensitive wrists. Bowling can also hurt your back if you twist it too violently.

It is advised to look at bowling as you would at any other challenging sport. Don’t be too eager and slowly find your limits. Remember to have fun as well as to train your body. Before you know it, if you keep playing for long enough, you won’t even realize you are getting a workout in because you’ll be having so much fun doing it. Bowling is a perfect solution for people who can’t stand repetitive, boring exercise. It feels more like a game than a gym session and that’s why so many of us love it!

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