Whether you have been at the indoor range all winter or not, there sure is something special about finally shooting outdoors after a long winter. After being cooped up in stagnant or sterile ranges, it’s time to get outside, blow up some dirt, get some fresh air and even some exercise. What?!  Exercise at the range? Yup, here’s the deal, and you don’t even need one of those crazy smartwatches.

There are 1,760 yards in one mile. Say you are shooting a target at 50 yards. When you go out to change the target or black out your bullet holes and then walk back you’ve gone 100 yards. Now, do that 17 more times and you’ve walked about a mile! You’ll only have to change your target 9 times at 100 yards, 5 times at 200 yards and just twice at 500 yards. You’d only have to walk out to an 800-yard target once, circle around the target a couple times and walk back to the firing line to get your mile in! There now, a mile doesn’t sound all that bad anymore, does it? And if you are counting steps, the average woman takes 2,727 steps in a mile and the average man 2,400. For example, while sighting in a rifle you can quickly put in about 2 miles if you shoot 100 yards once, 200 yards twice, 500 yards once and 800 yards once. This should put you about halfway to a 10,000 step per day goal also!

There are ways to get even more exercise at the range as well. If you are able, try jogging to and/or from your target or do some jumping jacks in between magazines. If you are allowed, set up a multi-station course that requires you to kneel, duck and maneuver between shooting stations to hit single or multiple targets. There are many training courses out there that will get you moving as well. Something I would like to try is a relay race by setting up a small obstacle course behind the shooting line. Players would need to run through the obstacle course and then hit a target or targets before the next person on the team begins.

Along with all this healthiness comes another benefit, learning to control your heart rate and breath while shooting. Even a slightly elevated heart rate can affect your aim and trigger pull among other things. If you can learn to hit a target accurately and consistently with an elevated heart rate at the range over the summer your body will be much better prepared for when that trophy buck finally presents itself for the kill shot this fall.

If you’re anything like me you will make every excuse not to exercise and every excuse to go shoot so, I find that this is a good solution however, there are certain rules for this strategy to be effective.  The first is that you must always follow proper shooter safety rules as well as any rules specific to your range.  Next, you only get to have one target up at a time so that you HAVE to go replace it or black it out more often. And lastly, be sure to wear sunscreen, bug spray and weather appropriate clothing and sip plenty of water. Be safe, go shoot and next time your spouse complains about you spending too much time at the outdoor range, you can tell them it’s for your health!

Walking the range is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise and spend quality time with friends and family.