The bowling alley has its unique charm, from the rhythmic clatter of pins to the gleaming lanes inviting you to make your mark. It’s a night out with friends, filled with laughter, friendly competition, and the occasional gutter ball.
Many reasons come to mind when deciding to go bowling: the camaraderie, the fun, the challenge. But realizing that bowling actually burns calories adds an exciting new perspective.
Imagine getting your daily dose of exercise while engaging in a sport you love, making strikes, and having a great time.
So, how many calories does bowling burn? And, is there anything you can do to increase this number, turning your leisure activity into an effective workout?
Read on to discover the surprising health benefits of this popular pastime.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Bowling for 30 Minutes?
You can burn anywhere from 80 to 150 calories per half-hour of bowling. However, this number is not set in stone as there are a few factors that can influence it.
First, your weight plays a significant role. A person weighing 125 pounds (56 kg) is likely to burn fewer calories than someone weighing 200 pounds (90 kg) while bowling for the same amount of time at the same intensity.
The reason for this difference is that a larger body requires more energy to move, and thus burns more calories.
Online calculators give the following estimates of calories burned by body weight and time:
A 120-Pound Person (1):
- 5 Minutes – 14 Calories
- 10 Minutes – 29 Calories
- 20 Minutes – 58 Calories
- 30 Minutes – 86 Calories
- 60 Minutes – 173 Calories
A 150-Pound Person (1):
- 5 Minutes – 18 Calories
- 10 Minutes – 35 Calories
- 20 Minutes – 70 Calories
- 30 Minutes – 105 Calories
- 60 Minutes – 210 Calories
A 200-Pound Person (1):
- 5 Minutes – 22 Calories
- 10 Minutes – 44 Calories
- 20 Minutes – 88 Calories
- 30 Minutes – 132 Calories
- 60 Minutes – 264 Calories
A 250-Pound Person (1):
- 5 Minutes – 27 Calories
- 10 Minutes – 55 Calories
- 20 Minutes – 110 Calories
- 30 Minutes – 165 Calories
- 60 Minutes – 330 Calories
As you can see, the heavier you are, the more energy your body needs to complete the same physical activity, resulting in more calories burned.
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Second, the length of your bowling session also plays a role in the number of calories you burn. A longer game with more frames will naturally result in more physical activity and, therefore, more calories burned. Bowling calories per 2 games is likely to be higher than just one game.
Third, the intensity of your bowling session also matters. For example, if you’re bowling at a leisurely pace, and chatting with friends between turns, you may burn fewer calories than someone who is playing in a competitive league and actively engaging their muscles with every throw.
Also, bowling strikes and spares require more movement and energy compared to bowling gutters or using bumpers. The more active you are during your game, the more bowling calories per hour you will burn.
Lastly, if you add in some extra activities like running up to the ball return or dancing between turns, you can increase your calorie-burning potential even further.
Can Bowling Be An Exercise?
Yes, bowling can be an exercise, and here’s exactly why that is.
The essence of exercise is any activity that gets your heart rate up and builds physical strength or endurance. And, of course, it’s a bonus if it’s an activity you genuinely enjoy.
Bowling involves a lot of movement, from lifting and rolling the ball to walking back and forth between throws. This might not seem like much, but over the course of a game, these actions add up, giving you a decent low-impact workout.
Plus, the repeated lifting of the bowling ball requires upper body strength, while the act of aiming and releasing the ball works on your coordination and balance.
If you’re the competitive type, and let’s be honest, who isn’t when they step up to that lane – the intensity of your game could increase, pushing your heart rate up into the moderate-intensity exercise zone.
Let’s not forget, that exercise doesn’t have to look like a sweaty gym session or a grueling marathon run. If it gets you moving and raises your heart rate, it counts.
Read more: What Does 3000 Calories Look Like?
Can I Lose Weight By Bowling?
Yes, you can lose weight by bowling if you’re consistent with your bowling sessions and incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle.
As mentioned earlier, you can burn anywhere from 80 to 150 calories per half-hour of bowling. If you play two games in an hour (around the average amount of time spent at a bowling alley), that’s potentially 300 calories burned in one visit alone. Add in some extra activities like dancing or running up to the ball return, and that number could go even higher.
Now, imagine going bowling once or twice a week consistently. Those calories burned add up over time and can contribute to weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.
Bowling can also be an excellent low-impact option for those looking to lose weight without putting too much strain on their joints.
Aside from the bowling activity, watch out for what you eat and drink during your bowling sessions. A night out at the bowling alley often includes snacks and beverages that can be high in calories and unhealthy fats. Instead of reaching for fried foods or sugary drinks, opt for healthier options like water and fresh fruit or vegetable platters.
Remember, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, and even if you’ve been eating well on other days, overindulging on a night out can throw you off track. That said, enjoy your game of bowling but keep moderation in mind when it comes to food and drinks.
Can You Gain Muscle From Bowling?
It can be challenging to gain significant muscle mass from bowling alone, as it is not considered an effective resistance activity that focuses solely on building muscle.
Muscle growth (hypertrophy) occurs when muscles are put under stress, causing tiny tears in the muscle fibers. As these tears heal, the muscle becomes bigger and stronger over time (2).
A bowling ball isn’t heavy enough to create significant stress on your muscles, so you won’t see significant muscle growth from bowling regularly.
However, as mentioned earlier, bowling does involve a lot of movement and could help contribute to overall muscle strength and endurance.
Repeatedly lifting and swinging a bowling ball works the muscles in your arms, shoulders, back, and chest. These repeated movements can help build strength and definition in these areas over time.
Additionally, walking back and forth between throws can also contribute to toning leg muscles and improving overall lower body strength.
To further enhance muscle growth from bowling, you can incorporate resistance training exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder press,es and squats into your routine. This will target specific muscle groups that may not be fully engaged during a game of bowling.
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How To Make The Most Out Of Bowling As An Exercise?
To get the most out of bowling as an exercise, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Perfect Your Form
To make the most of your bowling session, pay close attention to your form. The better your technique, the more muscles you’ll engage, leading to higher calorie burn. This includes using your legs more during the throw, maintaining a solid stance, and swinging the ball smoothly.
Choose a Heavier Ball
A heavier ball requires more effort to throw, which can help you burn more calories. However, don’t go too heavy – the ball should still be comfortable for you to hold and throw.
Play More Games
The more games you play, the more calories you’ll burn. Make it a point to play several games each session, taking minimal breaks between each game.
Increase the Pace
The faster your pace, the higher your heart rate and the more calories you’ll burn. Try to minimize the downtime between throws and keep the game moving.
Incorporate Movements Between Turns
Instead of sitting down between turns, stay active. Walk around, do some stretches, or even dance to the music. This keeps your heart rate up and helps burn more calories.
Bowl Without Bumpers
Bowling without bumpers requires more skill and precision, which can engage more muscles and result in higher calorie burn.
Read more: How To Burn 3000 Calories a Day
Can Bowling Be a Hobby?
Yes, bowling can be a hobby. Many people thoroughly enjoy bowling and make it a regular part of their leisure activities. It can be played by individuals of all ages and skill levels, making it a versatile hobby to pick up. It also offers opportunities to socialize, compete, and improve coordination and balance.
Is Bowling Considered Heavy Lifting?
Bowling does involve some degree of lifting, but it is not classified as heavy lifting. The weights of bowling balls can vary, but generally, they range from 6 to 16 pounds. Repeatedly lifting and swinging a bowling ball can contribute to muscle strength and endurance, though it does not provide the same level of muscle strain that traditional heavy lifting exercises would.
Is Bowling Considered an Athletic Sport?
Yes, bowling is considered an athletic sport. It requires physical skill, precision, and coordination, just like any other sport. It is even recognized as a competitive sport with organized leagues and tournaments at both the amateur and professional levels.
Bowling tests your endurance, precision, and strategic thinking, making it an exciting and challenging sport.
Is Bowling Just an Indoor Activity?
Although bowling is commonly associated with indoor bowling alleys, it’s not just an indoor activity. There are variations of the sport like lawn bowling and bocce that are played outdoors. Also, with the advent of portable bowling lanes, it’s possible to set up an outdoor bowling event. However, the traditional 10-pin bowling we’re most familiar with is typically played indoors.
The Bottom Line
Bowling may not be the first activity that comes to mind when thinking about exercise, but it can have surprising health benefits. Not only can you burn calories and potentially lose weight, but you can also improve your coordination and balance while having fun with friends or family. With this in mind, the next time you head to the bowling alley think of it as more than just a leisurely game – it’s a form of exercise, too!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Calories Burned Calculator (2023,calculator.net)
- The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training
- Brad J Schoenfeld 1 (2010,nih.gov)