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Bowling has a long and rich history. Today it is enjoyed by over 95 million people in more than ninety countries worldwide, making it one of the most popular sports in the world. Bowling is an easy sport people of all ages and physical abilities can participate in year round.
Although most people think of bowling as a relatively modern game, it has actually been around, in one form or another, since 3200 BC in Egypt. About 2,000 years ago a similar game evolved between Roman soldiers that involved tossing stone objects as close as possible to other stone objects and eventually evolved into Bocce, or outdoor bowling. German historian, William Pehle, claims that bowling began in his country as early as 300 AD. A form of bowling was popular in England in 1366, when King Edward III outlawed it to keep his troops focused on archery practice.
There are many forms of bowling: Candle Pin, Duck Pin, Five Pin, Lawn Bowling and Ten Pin bowling, which is the most famous and played, of all bowling sports.
While it is uncertain where the tenpin game evolved, by the late 1800s it was popular in many states such as New York, Ohio and as far west as Illinois. However, ball weights and pin dimensions varied by region. On September 9, 1895 the American Bowling Congress was established and standardization of rules would make major national competitions possible. Now organized, with agreed-upon standards, the game grew in popularity.
Today, bowling continues to grow through entertainment media such as video games for home consoles and handheld devices.
Health benefits of Bowling
Bowling is an anaerobic type of exercise, similar to walking with hand-held weights.
Burns Calories. Bowling burns calories which help promote weight loss. Its true bowling doesn’t burn calories at the same rate as an activity such as biking or running but two games will burn 340 – 580 calories. Not bad for something that’s fun too!
Improves Flexibility. The flexing and stretching required for bowling works tendons, joints, ligaments, and muscles in the arms and legs and works muscle groups not usually exercised. 184 separate muscles in all! An average bowler swings a bowling ball a full 360 degrees (200 degree back swing, 160 degree down swing).
Strengthens Muscles. It strengthens and tones your arm, shoulder, chest, and leg muscles. An average bowler using a 16-pound ball will swing one-third of a ton of weight in a three-game series, which helps maintain bone density.
Improves Heart and Respiratory Fitness. Bowling is a weight bearing exercise that also incorporates stretching and walking. An average bowler walks an average of 6/10 of a mile in a three-game series so it increases endurance.
Mental and Social Benefits. Bowling is relaxing and fun which gives you an opportunity to mentally de-stress. Tossing a ball and knocking down pins can be a good way to get out some pent up stress or aggression. Bowling is also a social activity where you play against other individuals or as part of a team. Bowling can help you improve relationships with family and friends or even make new friends.
All Ages and Physical Abilities Can Bowl. Whether you are 5 or 85 you can bowl. Bowling is a lifetime sport. It is one of the few sports that allow you to compete at a high level at an older age. Many bowling alleys can provide accommodations for people who use wheelchairs or are blind.
Bowling is a relatively inexpensive sport, around $10 for a three game set. Bowling lanes provide rental shoes and free balls for use so there is no initial cost to see if you like it.
Because it’s played indoors, weather doesn’t interfere with play. It can be a cool spot to get some exercise in the summer or during the winter when it’s cold outside!
Bowling lanes have been promoting bowling recently with a program called Kids Bowl Free that has been running during summer months. Look for it again in summer 2012. Here’s a link to their Facebook page for updates.
Rules of play
The rules of the game are very easy to understand and learn, and in most bowling facilities the automatic scoring systems take care of all the scoring for you.
Bowling involves rolling a ball down a predefined lane at a configuration of ten pins set up in a triangle.
A game of bowling consists of ten frames with each frame allowing the bowler two chances to knock down as many pins as possible with his bowling ball. In games with more than one bowler, every bowler will bowl their frame in a predetermined order before the next frame begins.
If a bowler knocks down all ten pins with the first ball, they are awarded a strike. If the bowler is able to knock down all 10 pins with the two balls of a frame, it is known as a spare. Bonus points are awarded for both of these. A strike merits the score of the next two throws and a spare the next ball. If the bowler knocks down all 10 pins in the tenth frame, the bowler is allowed two additional balls that frame. This allows for a potential of 12 strikes in a single game, and a maximum score of 300 points, a perfect game.
Like any other physical activity, warming up with a series of stretches helps to prevent injuries.
Bowling balls are heavy with varying weight ranges; to avoid back and wrist injury you should bend your knees slightly and pick the ball up with both hands.
When selecting a ball, make sure the finger holes are not too big and not too small. You also need a ball that is not too light, but heavy enough you can still throw it with ease. If the ball is too light, you will probably throw it with bad accuracy.
The bowling ball return mechanism has a driven wheel, and bowlers should keep their hands clear of it.
Bowlers should also warm/dry their fingers before inserting them into a bowling ball, to ensure that their fingers do not get stuck in the ball.
Note: There is one downside to bowling. Bowling lanes have food and beverage concessions where you can pick up a whole host of unhealthy food which may cancel out the positive benefits of bowling. But done right, a regular bowling routine can contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle, and be a lot of fun too.
If you are find you really enjoy the game you can join a league and bowl competitively with team mates against other teams for a season.
All leagues are not created equal! Depending on whether you're looking for a nice leisurely day at the lanes with friends or family, or if you're in it to win, there is a league for everyone. Most bowling centers will have the following leagues: youth, senior, men, women and mixed (men and women).
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