On a roll: Bowling can improve fitness, provide stress relief

Looking for a competitive pastime where you can still practice social distancing, wear a mask and keep your surroundings relatively germ free?

How about bowling?

Not only is it fun, but it is also good for your health. Bowling improves muscle strength, flexibility and is a great stress reliever.

Lots of muscle groups are involved in bowling. Swinging a 15-pound ball around for multiple games can get tiring if these muscles aren’t strengthened. Each time you bowl, you are using your arms, shoulders, wrists, and upper leg muscles. The heavier the ball you use, the more stress you put on the muscles.

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Flexibility in bowling is important to help with range of motion and balance. When you approach the lane to throw the ball, balance and core strength are key to releasing the ball properly for the best result.

Running and other more intense exercise may be hard on your joints. Bowling provides cardiovascular exercise that is low impact. It is an easy way to relax while also getting some important exercise.

Stress relief is also important, especially during these very difficult times we are living in. Bowling is often done in a group, which provides social interaction and helps improve mental well-being. It helps stimulate endorphins and gets your blood flowing. These are two important factors in helping to reduce stress.

How great does it feel to go up to the lanes, release the ball, and throw a strike or pick up a spare? It makes you smile and you’ll want to do it again. Let’s bowl!

-By Rachel Griehs, senior registered dietitian with the Weight Loss and Metabolic Center at Baylor College of Medicine

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