By Jackie Holbrook
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But doctors in France are telling people an arrow a day might work just as well. French physicians are now prescribing physical activities like archery to patients to promote overall wellness and healing.
The practice of prescription sport, a drug-free therapy, began two years ago in France. By encouraging sedentary people to be more active, doctors hope to decrease their chances of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Being active also benefits patients already struggling with these illnesses.
Archery is one of the activities French physicians are prescribing, because it’s an excellent source of exercise. Drawing a bow strengthens your arms, core, hands, chest and shoulders. Walking back and forth to the target to retrieve arrows improves cardio health.
The French Archery Federation is doing everything it can to help. The federation is training coaches to teach archery to people using it for medicinal purposes. “Sports can be done in prevention, but it can also bring benefits in healing,” said Jean-Michel Cloroy, the French Federation president, in a World Archery article. “Health sport is trending and it would be a shame not to take part – or to be left behind.”
The French Archery Federation held the first “Archery on Prescription” course this spring. Thirty coaches and accredited wellbeing practitioners attended the training. Passing the course allows these professionals to supervise prescribed archery sessions.
Prescription archery focuses on the fundamentals of archery with additional emphasis on how the movements impact the body in a positive way. This holistic approach encourages patients to focus on specific movements that increase strength and improve cardio. Coaches teach focus, balance and body awareness. Participants achieve both physical and emotional benefits by practicing archery. Increased mindfulness can improve happiness, productivity and alleviate anxiety. Not to mention, they enjoy the fun and social benefits!
Next time you’re feeling down or need some exercise, grab your bow and sling a few arrows. If you’re interested in the social aspect or need help getting started, visit your local archery shop and learn all about lessons and leagues.