Get in Shape
6 Strange Sports to Boost Your Fitness
It's not the most physically demanding sport at the Games, but a round of archery--like a round of golf--will test your patience and ability to stay calm, skills every office worker could use.
"It's very calming for my mother. She says it's zen-like," says Lindsey Carmichael, a Paralympic archer in both Athens and Beijing, winning a bronze medal during the 2008 Games. Though the sport isn't calming for her, she sees its mental benefits. "It's great for helping with discipline. It's great for thinking positively, and helps with anything having to do with concentration."
Though fitness can help an archer stay consistent--competitors must stand and shoot hundreds of arrows during a tournament--Carmichael says a positive, persistent personality can make anyone a great archer.
And while the sport may not burn away love handles, it can help you meet new friends.
"There's a wonderful emphasis on sportsmanship in archery," Carmichael says of the sport's welcoming culture. "If you're at a tournament and your equipment fails … everyone steps forward to help. Even your direct competitors will put together their backup equipment to help."
Where to Try It: There's an archery shop just a Bing away (search for one in your area), but Carmichael says to find one that has some experience with tournament or competitive archery if you're looking for help with technique. She also suggests contacting Junior Olympic Archery Development at http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Archery/Programs/Junior-Olympic-Archery-Development.aspx. Even if you're not a junior, "a JOAD coach is likely to know what's available in our area for adults and different styles of archery," she says.