Updated: Apr 22, 2022
Have you always wanted to excuse to try your hand at shooting? Check out these seven surprising health benefits of learning how to shoot a gun.
Indeed, approximately 20% of Bahamian own a licensed firearm, clearly, learning how to shoot is a rite of passage for people all over The Bahamas.
There are all sorts of reasons to consider picking up a firearm for the first time. Some people seek protection, others hunting and some for sport and competition.
Personal reasons aside, knowing how to shoot offers a host of benefits too.
One primary (and often unexpected) incentive is the health advantages available. That’s right, learning to shoot can have significant positive effects on your physical and mental health.
Want to discover how? Read on to find out exactly how shooting improves health.
1. Boosts Physical Strength
Accurate shooting requires surprisingly high levels of physical strength.
Sure, the weight of a gun varies depending on the specific model. The smallest handgun is unlikely to test the strength of the average shooter. Nonetheless, for shotguns and rifles in particular, you must be physically strong enough to hold the gun steady. Don’t, and hitting the target becomes far harder.
Arm, shoulder, back and core strength are all necessary to operate a firearm effectively. You have to raise the firearm into a shooting position and hold it there. You must keep your body weight distributed properly, maintaining your balance throughout.
Learning how to shoot naturally enhances the power in these key areas of the body. You’ll enjoy putting that newfound strength to use in other areas of life.
2. Mental Gains
Shooting isn’t all about brawn though.
In fact, many shooters will tell you it’s more of a head game. It’s a mental workout as much as a physical one.
There’s a level of logic and calculation to shooting. You have to decide the best way to make the shot and adjust your aim according to distance and environmental conditions. An element of intuition comes in play, but a fair dose of maths is called for as well.
Overall, physical strength means very little if the mental side of shooting isn’t mastered first. Learning to shoot will hone your mental capacities alongside the physical.
3. Meditational Elements
At first glance, shooting a firearm might not seem meditative in nature. However, you’d be surprised how meditational it can be too.
The process of handling a firearm demands high levels of focus. Hitting a target from an extended distance isn’t easy. Keeping control of the firearm and holding it steady is hard work. Ensuring safe practice on ranges and in real life requires concentration and diligence.
Thus, each aspect of shooting demands attention and effort. That means there’s no time to focus on external problems. You’re well and truly at the moment, focused on the task at hand.
The result? A blissful awareness of what’s happening, and a release of stress. The outside world ceases to matter when you’re shooting.
4. Adrenaline Gets a Boost
Meditational, yes. But there’s still plenty of room for adrenaline too.
Holding and shooting a firearm is exhilarating by its very nature. It takes us back to our primal selves and our urge to hunt. The rush of adrenaline that accompanies any shooting experience is an immense positive to your health.
For one thing, it feels great! It hones your mind, energizes your body, and floods your system with mood-enhancing neurochemicals. You walk away from the range or the hunt feeling happier and lighters than before.
5. Endurance and Stamina
Most ranges have you stand in one place and lay down in a prone position to shoot.
However, that’s not always the case. You can find ‘run and gun’ events that combine shooting with course style challenges. Wearing gear and up to 3 firearm types, you’re tasked with navigating a course of obstacles and firing at points along the way.
As you’d expect, these events require serious levels of fitness to complete. Training for them, or anything similar, boosts levels of endurance; shooting abilities under fatigue automatically improve too.
6. Access to Nature
This health benefit applies predominantly to hunting.
Why? Because not all shooting happens outdoors.
Nonetheless, anybody learning to shoot for the sake of hunting will gain from being in the great outdoors. You spend days on the outside, scouting, stalking prey, and tramping miles with your prizes in tow.
That access to nature has a profound effect on physical and mental health. On the mental side, you’ll feel less stressed, less angry, less anxious and more positive in general. Physically, you’ll enjoy lower blood pressure, muscle tension and less pain.
7. Boosts Confidence and Self-Empowerment
Learning to shoot bolsters levels of personal confidence and empowerment.
It’s hard not to reap these mental benefits. Shooting can begin as a daunting prospect. Many people are fearful of operating them safely and responsibly. That quickly changes as you have firearm safety drilled into you! Before long you feel in full control of the firearm.
Mastering any new skill is empowering and enjoyable. The effect’s only enhanced when that new skill happens to involve newfound levels of self-protection.
Life can be scary; all sorts of people and predicaments can harm you. Knowing how to handle a firearm can be a significant boost to a personal sense of safety.
Time to Learn How to Properly Operate A Firearm
Regardless of the reasons people want to own and shoot a firearm, the practice holds many personal advantages. Among them all, the health benefits it provides are top of the lot.
Hopefully, this post has highlighted the key physical and mental health benefits to look forward to. See you at the range!