Want to Lose Calories? Bowling May Be an Option

By Daniel Baldwin

The fun and less grueling way to burn calories, build muscle and relieve stress

Local bowlers know what size shoe and pound ball they need to play the sport. 

They know how to release the bowling ball, get it out of the gutter and get strikes. 

Many people know how to bowl and be good at it. 

But they may not know the number of pounds they lose and calories they burn while playing the game. They may not know the affects and benefits this sport has on their bodies and mental health.

John Knight, a bowling coach and owner of John Knight’s Bowlers’ Shoppe (located inside King Pin Lanes in Rome), said that an average person, who bowls for an hour, can burn 240 calories during that time. 

A 200-pound adult, who bowls for an hour, can burn up to 275 calories, according to Mayoclinic.org.

Bowlers do a lot of ball lifting, swinging, stretching and walking during a one-, two-, and three-game span. Knight said that an average bowler walks six-tenths of mile up and down the lanes during a three-game stretch. They are lifting, carrying, and throwing a six- to 16-pound bowling ball 20-22 times per game.

“You walk sixth-tenths of a mile when you bowl three games and you burn 240 calories per hour bowling,” Knight said. “Those are pretty good numbers. Plus, we [bowlers] use the heaviest object in sports. A bowling ball is the heaviest object in any sport, so that helps anaerobically build muscle tone.”

According to Bowlingoverhaul.com, bowlers are using and building up all the major muscle groups in their bodies (arms, legs, upper and lower portion) while playing.

They are stretching their tendons, joints, and ligaments; muscles that are not stretched, but should be in order to stay fit and avoid injury, according to Bowling.com.

“There is a thought in people’s mind that you’re exercising just your arm,” Knight said. “I mean the workout that you give your abs and your legs, that cannot be understated. You arguably work out those more than your arm. It’s understated and underappreciated the amount of inner workings your legs and core get. They get quite a workout too.”

Not only are bowlers losing weight and building muscles, but they are also reducing the risk of getting heart and blood-related diseases. According to Capitol-bowl.com, people, who bowl a few times or on a regular basis, are less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or diabetes.

Bowling also improves eye-hand coordination, the eyes and the hands working together to perform a certain task. It is easy for people, young and old, to throw and release a bowling ball down the lane, but if bowlers want to keep their balls out of the gutter and record strikes consistently, then they must find a spot or target on the lanes and place their ball on that spot every frame. That improves a person’s eye-hand coordination and their bowling score.

“Aiming for targets on the lane help immensely because the head pin is 60 feet away from the foul line,” Knight said. “It’s generally advisable to aim closer, as looking at a closer target is generally easier to hit for most. There are several targets on the lane that you could aim for to knock down all the pins. Most league bowlers use the arrows, which are 15 feet out beyond the foul line. Most people target the arrows, but there are other spots on the lane that you could target and look at. Some people even look at the pins, but most people target the arrows. Having a target to focus on and roll the ball over improves eye-hand coordination tremendously.”

There is a lot of ball lifting, swinging, stretching, calorie burning, eye-hand coordinating and muscle building in the sport of bowling—but it is not as tough or grueling as working out at the gym or playing outdoors on the field, according to Knight. Bowlers do sit down and take many breathers during a game. They also use that time (waiting for their turn) to talk to their friends, family members and other bowlers that they have not met nor talked to.

“It’s not overly grueling to bowl,” Knight said. “There are frequent breaks.”

Bowling may be serious to some, but fun for others. Some see it as a sport while others see it as a social gathering; an opportunity to hang out and have fun with friends and family. A chance for those who have not gone out and socialized that much, to leave the house, make new friends and improve their social lives. Approximately two million bowlers socialize and bowl together in weekly leagues across America, according to The Bowling Foundation.

The social aspects of bowling can improve a person’s mental outlook, according to Knight. People who bowl in leagues or with friends will be more social and not feel stressed or depressed. They will be in a much happier state.

“The social aspects of bowling help improve your mental outlook,” Knight said. “If you’re amongst friends and peers bowling and you’re having a good time, your stress levels are reduced. You’re laughing and having fun. Mentally, you’re in a much better place. Having fun and bowling helps create an environment where you’re enjoying yourself.”

Based on this information, bowling is indeed a good exercise and enjoyable experience for both first-timers and professionals.