All of us sat up and took notice when Katniss, Suzanne Collins's powerful protagonist, weilded the deadly bow and arrow in The Hunger Games. It reminded us of the legendary Robin Hood and his infallible skill at archery. Today, archery comes to the forefront yet again as we prepare for the Olympic games to begin. More than a decade ago, archery was introduced in the 1990 Summer Olympics and today South Korea rules the Olympic medal charts with 30 medals. Will India break into this chart and win our first medal in archery this time around?
Indians are hopeful about bringing home at least two archery medals in the London Olympic 2011, says chief coach - Limba Ram. India has qualified for men and women’s archery; the men’s team includes Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee, and the women’s team includes Deepika Kumari, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro.
Archery trivia: Did you know that archery is the national sport of our neighbour, Bhutan? It was declared Bhutan's national sport in 1971 and is demonstrated during all major holidays and religious events.
So while our Olympians get ready to take on their rivals, let’s check out how fitness plays out in archery…
The medieval combat art form of archery demands accuracy and timing, paired with posture and balance. If you thought archery doesn’t need any fitness training you are wrong. There are ways to improve your performance with exercise.
The perfection of the bow and arrow demands 20/20 vision, perfect hand-eye co-ordination, balance and low body fat. Archery has three important rules in relation to fitness:
- Physical fitness is important for archery,
- Someone who practises archery must pay attention to flexibility,
- Balance and core play an important role in the stillness and levelled calm that we associate with archery.
In archery, you mainly use your upper body, shoulders and arm muscles, hence resistance training exercises are recommended. But don't let this fool you. Your lower body's balance is just as important.
Flexibility is important to pull the ‘string’, plus it helps to avoid injury. To achieve this, exercises that engage full range of motion for all joints and full muscle length are important. Archery also demands correct posture to hit the bull’s eye. Hence, regular practise of archery improves overall physical posture, improves low back pains, improves the alignment of your back and strengthens shoulders. If your office chair is ruining your posture, archery could be a fun sport to take up on weekends for optimal functioning of your body. (Via)
*Image courtesy Reuters
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