How Many Calories Does Archery Burn?

by | Dec 28, 2023

Archery, a sport often associated with precision and patience, also doubles as a dynamic way to burn calories. But how many calories does archery burn?

This article delves into the calorie-burning potential of archery, considering factors like intensity, body weight, and session duration.

Whether you’re an archery enthusiast or someone looking to add a new dimension to your fitness routine, understanding the energy expenditure in archery can be quite enlightening.

Key Takeaways:

  • Archery can burn a significant number of calories, influenced by factors such as body weight and intensity.
  • This activity engages various muscle groups, making it a comprehensive physical exercise.
  • Archery also offers mental health benefits, enhancing focus and patience.

How Many Calories Do You Burn In Archery?

Archery is more than just a test of accuracy and skill; it’s a physical activity that can burn a notable number of calories.

While the exact calorie burn can vary based on several factors, understanding the general estimate can be helpful for those looking to include archery in their workout routine.

How Many Calories Does Archery burn?

The Caloric Impact of Archery

To estimate how many calories you burn during archery we need to consider various elements. Your body weight plays a crucial role.

For instance, a 200-pound person may burn more calories than someone weighing 150 pounds, given the same intensity and duration of the activity.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that a 150-pound person burns approximately 410 calories in a typical archery session​​​​.

Factors Affecting Calorie Burn in Archery

Several factors influence the calorie burn during an archery session:

  • Intensity of the Activity: The more vigorously you engage in archery, the higher the calorie burn. This includes the effort put into drawing the bow and arrow and the overall physical engagement during the session.
  • Duration: Naturally, the longer you participate in archery, the more calories you burn. An extended archery session can significantly contribute to your daily calorie expenditure.
  • Body Weight: As mentioned, a person’s body weight significantly impacts the calories burned. A heavier individual tends to burn more calories performing the same activity as a lighter person.
  • Type of Archery: The kind of archery practiced, whether it’s competitive or non-hunting, can also affect the calorie burn. Different archery styles may require varying levels of physical exertion.

The MET Value in Archery

The Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) value is useful in estimating calorie burn. Archery typically has a MET value of around 3.5, indicating that it burns 3.5 times more calories than the energy expenditure of sitting still​​.

This value, while helpful, doesn’t account for individual differences such as sex, age, or environmental factors.

What is Your MET Value?

1 MET, or Metabolic Equivalent of Task, is a unit used to estimate the amount of energy expended during various activities.

It is defined as the ratio of a person’s working metabolic rate relative to their resting metabolic rate. One MET is equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly, which is approximately 1 kcal per kilogram of body weight per hour.

This means that activity with a MET value of 1 is roughly equivalent to the energy expenditure of sitting still at room temperature, not actively digesting food. 

Activities with higher MET values require more energy and thus burn more calories compared to those with lower MET values. For instance, an activity with a MET value of 3 would burn three times as many calories as sitting quietly

Using a calories burned calculator can provide a more personalized estimate. For example, a person weighing 180 pounds might burn approximately 368 calories in a 60-minute non-hunting archery session, based on the MET value and individual weight​​.

While archery might not seem physically demanding at first glance, it can be an effective way to burn calories and enhance your fitness level.

The number of calories burned from archery can depend on several factors, making it a versatile and adaptable form of exercise.

Engaging Muscle Groups in Archery

While calorie burn is a key factor, it’s also important to understand the muscle groups engaged in archery. This sport is not just about drawing the bow and releasing an arrow.

It encompasses a range of physical activities that target various muscle groups.

Read more: What Muscles Does Archery Work?

Upper Body and Core Engagement

Archery primarily engages the upper body muscles, including the shoulders, arms, chest, and back. The act of drawing the bow, holding the position, and aiming activates these muscle groups.

Additionally, your core muscles play a crucial role in stabilizing your body during a shot, thus contributing to muscle development in these areas​​​​.

Muscle Building Over Time

Although archery may not be as intense as weightlifting, it still offers muscle-building benefits. Regular archery practice can lead to increased muscle strength and tone, particularly in the arms and shoulders.

The repetitive nature of drawing and releasing the bow, combined with maintaining proper form, ensures that these muscles are consistently worked​​​​.

Caloric Burn Calculation in Archery

Understanding the calculation of calorie burn in archery can help you estimate how effective this sport can be as part of your fitness routine.

Using a Calorie Calculator

A calorie calculator can provide a more precise estimate of calories burned during an activity. These calculators typically factor in the MET value, your body weight, and the duration of the activity to generate an estimated calorie burn​​.

Example Calculation

For instance, using the formula (MET value x body weight in kilograms x 3.5) ÷ 200, a person weighing 180 pounds (approximately 81.65 kg) can burn about 6.14 calories per minute during a non-hunting archery session.

This equates to around 368 calories burned in a 60-minute session​.

Enhancing Calorie Burn and Fitness Through Archery

To maximize the benefits of archery for fitness and calorie burning, consider the following tips:

Increase the Intensity

By increasing the intensity of your archery sessions, such as by shooting at longer distances or holding your draw longer, you can increase how many calories are burned.

This also applies to incorporating more physical activities, like walking between targets, into your archery routine​​​​.

Incorporate Complementary Exercises

Adding strength training exercises, such as push-ups or resistance band rows, can further enhance the muscle groups used in archery.

This not only improves your archery performance but also contributes to an overall increase in calorie burn and muscle toning.

Archery offers a unique blend of calorie burning and muscle engagement, making it an excellent addition to any fitness regimen.

By understanding and leveraging the factors that influence calorie burn and muscle development in archery, you can make this sport an effective component of your workout routine.

Related: What Are The Health Benefits Of Archery?

Archery’s Role in Mental Health and Focus

Beyond the physical benefits, archery plays a significant role in enhancing mental health and focus. This aspect of the sport is often overlooked but is equally important for overall well-being.

Mental Focus and Discipline

Archery requires a high level of mental focus and discipline. Each shot demands concentration, making archery a meditative and mindful practice.

This concentration can spill over into other areas of life, improving overall focus and presence of mind. The repetitive nature of drawing the bow and aiming fosters a sense of patience and calmness, which is beneficial for mental health​​​​.

Stress Relief and Patience

The physical exertion involved in archery, combined with the mental focus required, offers a unique form of stress relief.

The sport provides a break from the daily grind, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in the moment, which can be incredibly calming and therapeutic​​.

Read more: Top 7 Mental health Benefits Of Archery

Comparison with Other Physical Activities

When comparing archery to other sports and physical activities, it offers a unique blend of benefits. While it may not be as high-intensity as activities like running or swimming, archery still offers a decent calorie burn and engages various muscle groups.

Calorie Burn Comparison

On average, an hour of archery can help you burn around 250-400 calories. This is lower compared to more intense physical activities but still contributes significantly to daily energy expenditure​​.

ActivityEstimated Calories Burned Per Hour*
Archery250-400 calories
Jogging (5 mph)590 calories
Swimming (light to moderate)423-632 calories
Cycling (moderate)472-745 calories
Tennis (singles)520-780 calories
Basketball480-710 calories
Yoga (general)183-228 calories

*The calorie counts provided are approximate averages for a person weighing approximately 155 pounds (70 kg). The actual number of calories burned can vary significantly based on the intensity of the activity, the individual’s body weight, and other personal factors.

These comparisons give a broad idea of how archery stacks up against other popular physical activities in terms of calorie expenditure.

Archery, while less intense than some high-impact sports like jogging or basketball, still offers a considerable calorie burn, making it a worthwhile addition to a fitness routine.

Unique Blend of Physical and Mental Benefits

Archery’s combination of physical exertion and mental focus makes it stand out. It not only improves upper body strength and core stability but also enhances hand-eye coordination, and concentration skills, and provides a sense of relaxation. These factors make archery a well-rounded activity for both body and mind​​.

Maximizing Calorie Burn and Fitness in Archery

To further enhance the benefits of archery, here are some practical tips:

  1. Set Specific Goals: Aim to improve accuracy and hit the bullseye consistently. This not only enhances your skill but also increases the physical exertion involved.
  2. Consistent Practice: Regular practice builds muscle memory and improves technique, contributing to a higher calorie burn.
  3. Vary Your Routine: Incorporate different types of shots, distances, and shooting positions to challenge your body and mind.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is key to maintaining energy levels and performance.
  5. Listen to Your Body: Take breaks as needed and adjust your practice to avoid strain and fatigue​​.


How many calories can I burn in a one-hour archery session?

The number of calories burned in a one-hour archery session can vary. Factors like your body weight, the intensity of the session, and the type of archery (competitive or non-hunting) influence this. On average, a person can burn between 250 to 400 calories per hour​​​​​​.

Does the type of bow I use affect the number of calories burned?

Yes, the type of bow can impact calorie expenditure. Using a heavier bow requires more physical exertion, thereby increasing the number of calories burned. Compound bows, for example, might offer a different calorie burn rate compared to traditional bows due to their mechanical advantages and draw weight differences​​.

What muscles does archery help in strengthening?

Archery is particularly effective in strengthening the upper body and core muscles. It targets the shoulders, arms, chest, back, and the core muscles that include the abs and obliques. Regular archery practice can lead to increased muscle strength and tone in these areas​​​​.

Can archery be a part of a weight loss program?

Yes, archery can be a part of a weight loss program as it helps burn calories and build muscle. However, like any physical activity, it should be combined with a balanced diet and other forms of exercise for effective weight loss​​​​.

How does archery benefit mental health?

Archery requires high levels of concentration and mental focus, which can enhance mental health. The sport is known for improving skills like patience, discipline, and attention to detail. Additionally, the meditative nature of focusing on each shot can provide stress relief and a sense of calmness​​​​.


Archery is more than just a sport; it’s a comprehensive activity that offers a range of physical and mental health benefits. Calorie burning is but one.

By understanding the factors that affect calorie burn and muscle engagement, we can effectively estimate the number of calories burned during an archery session.

By implementing practices to enhance these benefits, archery can be a valuable addition to your fitness and wellness routine. Happy shooting!