5 Great Health Benefits of Going to a Shooting Range

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Posted on: 17 April 2017 by Yasmine Carr

Shooting is about much more than just hitting a target - it can actually be good for your health. Read to see 5 health benefits of going to a shooting range.

When you think of improving your health, you probably think of things like eating better and going to the gym.

You promise yourself you'll cut out the desserts and start taking the stairs at work.

And while those things are definitely sure fire ways to get into better shape, you might also consider dusting off your guns and taking them for a spin.

It doesn't matter what kind of gun you shoot, from a small pistol to a rifle like a Benjamin pellet rifle, a trip to the shooting range is going to benefit you more than you might think.

Here are five health benefits of going to the shooting range.

Strengthen those guns 

Not the one you're holding -- your guns! 

Shooting, especially shooting well, requires upper body strength in order to aim and hold the gun steady.

Even if you don't think your gun is heavy enough to be compared to the lifting you do in the gym, your first few trips to the range might leave you with sore arms.

This usually includes the muscles in your shoulders and triceps, but can also affect your forearms as well.  

That is because holding the gun in front of you with both arms extended for any period of time is going to work muscles that usually aren't needed for more than a few seconds at a time. 

If you're not exercising these muscles specifically, your arms will get tired just from being held in this position without the gun.

Think of the other motions that require your arms to be in this position -- you probably won't be able to come up with too many.

Perhaps you'll have both arms extended when doing something like picking up a child, but that action isn't a sustained one. (Unless the kid has a dirty diaper, then you might be holding them as far from you as possible.) 

By going to the shooting range regularly, you're ensuring that your whole body is engaged and you will be strengthening muscles that are otherwise overlooked.

Eye on the prize

"You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

If you share the same concern as Ralphie's mother -- and just about everyone else in the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story -- you really need not worry too much.

Shooting can actually be very beneficial to your eyes -- just be sure to keep the gun pointed at the target and not icicles!

So how can shooting possibly benefit your eyes?

Well, we live in the age of technology. How long did you spend on your computer today? What about your phone or tablet?

All the time we spend on our digital devices takes a toll on our eyes. The light from the screen can cause something called Computer Vision Syndrome, which sounds way cooler than it actually is. 

Instead of giving you some awesome digital superhero eyes, Computer Vision Syndrome includes a wide range of eye strain and pain issues. 

This is thought to affects up to 90% of people who work with computers and this is only expected to increase as people spend more and more time online.

Shooting can help because you are forcing your eyes to focus on a target much further away than your average computer screen and therefore you are making your eyes work.

Just like exercising any other part of your body, this work is going to make your eyes stronger and it will get easier and easier to focus on distances increasingly far from you.

That's not to say that the shooting range is going to cure you of a lifetime of poor vision, but it certainly can help prevent your vision from getting any worse. 

Stress less

We spend so much of our lives rushing from one thing to the next, worrying about being late, worrying about the next thing on our list, just worrying about way too much.

An afternoon at the shooting range can be very beneficial to your mental health.

Shooting forces you to calm down, breathe steadily and slowly, and focus all your attention on the task at hand. You can't shoot well if you're already thinking several steps down the line or if you're worried about whatever is going on at the office. 

This gives your mind a break from all the hurry, hurry, hurry and forces your body to fall into step with that.

Shooting is also a great release of tension, kind of like when your mom used to tell you to take your frustration out on the pillow. It is a productive outlet for any negativity or frustration you may be feeling, so you're able to leave those feelings on the range and move on.

The result is that you will leave the range with a clear mind and more relaxed than when you arrived.

Stand taller

Have you ever seen a soldier slouch? Neither have I.

Sure, this could be due to all the yelling and standing at attention and such, but it is also because it is nearly impossible to shoot a gun with poor posture. 

Instead, you need to square your feet and shoulders and straighten your back, standing tall and firm.

Considering how common back pain is (it goes hand in hand with all that time you're spending on the computer), this is a great health benefit that comes with shooting.

Safety first

Shooting is one of the safest sports you can participate in.

Nope, that's not a typo.

Thanks to efforts to gun safety education efforts, the number of accidents related to guns has dropped dramatically in recent decades.

You are now more likely to be injured in a swimming pool than you are on the gun range. 

And when you consider that contact sports have such a high rate of injury, the shooting range doesn't sound nearly so bad.

According to stopsportsinjuries.org, "Among athletes ages 5 to 14, 28 percent of percent of football players, 25 percent of baseball players, 22 percent of soccer players, 15 percent of basketball players, and 12 percent of softball players were injured while playing their respective sports."

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