Bowling can be a fun way to get in a little bit of a workout.
IF YOU DON’T believe bowling is exercise, my fitness tracker has a couple of stats for you:
1) In one hour of bowling, I burned 261 calories — respectable.
2) My heart rate went as high as 137, and I had an average heart rate of 103 — my tracker called that cardio “maintaining.”
3) My tracker didn’t have a third thing to report. But I can report the 8-pound bowling ball gave my forearm and fingers a workout, and my arm was vaguely sore afterward.
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I went to bustling West Seattle Bowl to test my skills, i.e. remind myself how terrible I am at bowling, and to see what kind of exercise bowling can be. My boyfriend Chris and I decided to stay for one hour for this exercise test. (We did not order beer; we were exercising!)
I’m not a very accurate bowler, so rather than throwing super-hard, I went for throwing straight. I started off with a heavier bowling ball, then decided a bright, pink 8-pounder was the best fit.
Things did not start well for either of us. We knocked down a few pins, but hardly a remarkable number. We decided our goal should be to break a score of 100, which, by the way, is always my goal.
But after we warmed up, we started to get some spares. I jumped up and down each time — otherwise known as fitness.
By the last frame, I was in my groove. I got a spare and then a strike. It might be the best game I have ever bowled. I broke 100, Chris beat me, and it was still awesome.
The second game, however, started with a gutter ball and two pins down. I salvaged the second frame with terrible form but a spare.
I never did get my momentum going for the second game — just a couple of sporadic spares that didn’t help me much. Chris did slightly better.
By the third game, my technique and focus were waning. I had more gutter balls than I care to share. I had gone to Olympic weightlifting before bowling, and I was weary.
Occasionally, I found enough energy to focus, and scored a spare. But not very often. Chris was beating me easily.
But then, new bowlers showed up at the adjacent lanes. They had their own shiny bowling balls in pretty colors and wavy designs. They threw the ball with two hands, spinning it in a giant curve, teetering at the edge of the gutter and landing strike after strike. If they didn’t get a strike, they cleaned up with a spare.
They threw their whole bodies into their two-handed form, lunging deeply in their legs and using their entire torso and arms to hurl the ball down the lane. They had flare. It was beautiful to watch.
If I wasn’t convinced by my tired arms and fingers that bowling is exercise, I was by the appearance of the real bowlers. Their form was exceptional. They also were nice when I asked about two-handed bowling, and didn’t mention the sub-100 final score I had tallied in the third game.
I love any social options that include an activity. Going bowling on a random evening was a reminder that it’s so easy to do something active, even on a Saturday night. Next time, I might even watch some videos on two-handed bowling first to ramp up my bowling exercise — and one day get a few more strikes.