There are a lot of reasons to get fit: general well-being, staving off illness, and preparing for the impending collapse of the world as we know it. When one hears about getting fit, we’re immediately transported to scenes of people working out at the gym, lifting weights, or running on treadmills. This isn’t the only way to get fit though. If you’re looking for another excuse to fire off a few dozen rounds, here are a few reasons why going to the range is actually pretty great for your health.
Shooting is an activity that is physically demanding. While standing at a bay, idly firing off shots might not be the best way to do it, heading to a nice outdoor range to practice shooting while moving, different shooting positions, and moving from cover to cover does a lot to whip you into shape. Keeping a bucking firearm in your hand and on target is great for your arms, and by their nature, guns aren’t light. Constant, dynamic tension, and the force needed to keep a weapon in place all do a great job at toning your muscles. Changing shooting positions strengthens muscles, and gives you practical strength and agility, plus, running quick sprints to and from cover is the start of decent cardio. You’re going to have to go a little longer, and frequently, but as an addition to other activities, going to the range is a great idea.
If you’ve ever fired a gun, you know it’s a loud, messy, disorienting affair. Managing to score constant, consistent groups requires focus and concentration. The ability to tune out the unnecessary stimuli and making yourself get the right sight picture, sight alignment, and trigger press is a skill that translates into anything you could do in your life. It also trains your eyes to literally focus quickly on different planes, and gets you used to shifting from a near object to another.
One of the most valuable things in sports and in daily living is hand-eye coordination. Your hands are the extension of your will, but if you don’t really know how to work them right, you won’t get anything done. Constantly working on getting your hands to do what your brain wants, based on the information your eyes take in is an invaluable skill that has far-reaching uses beyond shooting or sport. Reloading, clearing malfunctions, and again, constantly trying to hit a target all benefit the development of this skill. You’ll thank us the next time your son throws you a basketball without letting you know first.
Balance and posture
A good part of being able to hit a target is having a stable platform from which to fire a shot. Training your body to be as stable as possible is a physical feat that you can refine at the range. You’ll have to tighten your core, mind your feet, and isolate your shooting muscles, particularly when you start trying to shoot on the move. Standing straight also gives your lower back a good workout, and allows you to stave away the ill effects of sitting at an office chair for most of your waking hours.
Having fun is one of the best ways to reduce stress. If you’re reading this article, there is no doubt that you find shooting enjoyable. Apart from that, there’s really something relaxing about taming a 147-grain projectile travelling at upwards of 1000 FPS, thanks to a huge explosion that just went off centimeters from your hand. It’s like the weapon is an analogue for your own high-strung psyche, and throwing lead downrange helps you release that pent-up pressure. Rough day at work? Let off some steam at the range, and you’ll feel much better. Low stress means lower blood pressure levels, and a much happier, healthier shooter.
While it might not be the best idea to trade all your gym time for range time, going to the firing range is certainly not something to pass up. Apart from being fun, it’s a practical way to build practical strength and use the foundation you’ve built elsewhere. And it certainly beats 90 minutes on a treadmill.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE October 2015 Issue
Words by Ren Alcantara