5 Ways Bowling Helps You Stay Healthy
Have you made a New Year’s Resolution to get (or remain) healthy in 2015? If you did – you’re not alone! Many people choose to make better decisions when it comes to their health around the New Year.
There are many important physiological and physical attributes of a successful bowler, including exceptional hand/eye coordination and balance, good flexibility, strength and aerobic fitness and low body fat.
A good musculoskeletal system maximizes bowling power and control while minimizing injury risk. A good level of endurance keeps you healthy, reduces fatigue and aids in recovery. Your training should reflect these demands of bowling and aim to improve the areas which will have an impact on your score.
Bowlers tend to have a high injury rate in the shoulders, knees, hips, elbows and wrists – but you can reduce your injury potential by paying very close attention to these specific areas during your conditioning program.
Body strength is required for carrying the ball (and the heavier the ball you can use is often better for performance), and strength is required to hold body positions to correctly execute the skill of bowling. Resistance exercises can help develop your strength, so you should focus on upper and lower body strength, as well as core body strength.
Upper body power is important in the bowling delivery. Improvements in strength gained through resistance exercises, in combination with power exercises such as medicine ball throwing can develop your power.
3. Cardiovascular Endurance
Although aerobic endurance plays only a minor role in bowling performance, it plays a major role in your health. A level of endurance fitness is necessary for you to reduce fatigue during games, and if you are playing in a tournament, you will need to keep fresh and recover well after several days of bowling.
- The recommended training level for improving cardiovascular endurance is at least three sessions per week for at least 30 minutes each.
- You can improve your endurance with regular exercises of moderate intensity over 20-60 minutes, such as cycling or jogging.
Being flexible enables you to perform the actions of bowling and those who are more flexible will have a much lower risk of muscle strains and sprains. You should perform regular stretching exercises as part of your warm up and at other times to improve your flexibility.
There are several principles of training that should be followed, such as the principle of specificity. This means that improvements in strength (and other aspects of fitness too) are specific to the area that is trained. It is therefore important to target the areas that you’re trying to improve. This may mean training the leg muscles for improving balance, the torso area to improve stability and the upper body region for strength, power and accuracy.
A second training principle is progressive overload. Improvements in strength are gained as the body adapts to the higher demands – the overloads – placed on it during strength training. If you always exercise at the same level, the body will adapt to this new level and you will stop improving.
To ensure that you are constantly improving, you need to progressively increase your training – either time spent exercising or the intensity – as you adapt.