When metal detecting gets brought into a conversation, the first thought is not exercise. When anyone discusses metal detecting, a common image that pops into mind first is strolling along the beach while sweeping a detector across the sand until it beeps on a piece of jewelry, an old coin, or a gold bar that somehow escaped a buried treasure chest somewhere nearby.
Without knowing much about the hobby, it is easy to assume metal detecting is a leisure activity that doesn’t require much skill or stamina. However, it is quite the opposite.
Metal detecting is not limited to beaches and sandy areas. Multiple terrains across the globe can be hunted for all kinds of treasures. Whether it be old mining camps, rediscovered towns, parks, backyards, farmlands, fields, lakes, oceans, schoolyards, or a quick stop on the side of the road, the possibilities are near limitless to find something interesting or of value.
The first step to learning the trade is purchasing, renting, or borrowing a metal detector and practicing until you know what each noise and display picture means.
Metal detectors are available in basic models for those just starting and those who prefer to keep things simple and on the cheaper side of the budget. It will take time to familiarize oneself with any detector, but basic models will be easier since they have less advanced features.
On the other side, if you are detecting in an area that has high mineralized soil, a basic model will not be able to differentiate the dirt from a find. More advanced models of metal detectors have discrimination settings that can be applied to alert at specific readings instead of beeping at anything metallic.
These models may take more practice to learn all the settings and alerts. Still, it is worth it if metal detecting is a frequent hobby, hunted locations are often highly mineralized, or specific items are being searched.
Having a metal detector is only the first step in finding lost, hidden, or forgotten items. Probes, small shovels, large shovels, backpacks, collection containers, pinpointers, hiking poles, nets, gold panning equipment, knee pads, buckets, ropes, and even magnets all have a unique role in metal detecting.
When a detector beeps, there is a depth associated with it. Some finds are on the surface and merely lost in the grass. Other finds can be anywhere from half an inch in the ground to ten or more inches deep. Without the proper equipment, digging, pinpointing, and collecting is impossible. Rope and magnets are best friends for magnet fishing and pulling items from waterways that might otherwise be unattainable.
Some areas restrict digging and only allow probes. Muddy areas can cause complications with metal detecting due to the visibility of what is being recovered. Small shovels and large shovels are great for digging, free stuck items, or helping lift heavier objects to the surface.
Pinpointers are beneficial for fitting into small spaces or quickly scanning over larger areas to pinpoint the exact location of something small, dropped, or potentially dangerous.
Part of the Code of Ethics for metal detecting is collecting and properly removing any trash found. There will be trash that gets dug up or falsely sends an alert through the metal detector’s coil. Collection containers are an excellent way to sort out what has been found.
A trash collection bag provides a place for storing soon-to-be disposed of trash and keeps detectorists safe from accidental injuries when reaching into a collection container. Other collection containers can be established in whatever way the detectorist sees fit; coins, toys, jewelry, and unidentifiable finds. Collection bags and containers can also be sorted by location such as park, beach, yard, campsite, etc.
Metal detecting does not require peak physical fitness to succeed, but it is beneficial to understand that health, strength, and stamina are essential for some expeditions.
Entire Body Workout
The kind of physical activity included with metal detecting turns out to be quite the whole body workout. Walking, at any pace, for extended periods is an excellent source of low-impact exercise. Adding in the weight of a metal detector, shovel, backpack, and finds, a simple, low-impact exercise becomes more of a strength-building routine.
Squatting, kneeling, bending, and lifting are also frequently done throughout every outing. Sweeping back and forth with a metal detector that weighs between two and five pounds adds another layer of exercise that helps build up arm strength.
Throw in the different terrains that are hunted, and it’s safe to say there could be some mild to moderate hiking, trudging through mud or water, or miles of fields and parks walked. By the end of the day, you will feel the benefits of a full-body workout without going to the gym.
The hobby of metal detecting is good for muscle conditioning and a valid excuse for a massage or a good soak in a hot tub to relax.
The average weight of a metal detector is two to five pounds and can often feel heavy when starting out and by the end of the day. Having the appropriate strength to use and carry the device is necessary, but with frequent use, the muscles in your arms will grow, and the detector’s weight will become less of a strain.
The hands, shoulders, and arms are also essential tools for digging and carrying anything found while exploring. Do not be surprised if you start to notice a more toned, shaped, and detailed upper body after getting into metal detecting.
Not all locations are going to be easy to dig in. Some areas may be known for hard ground, rock coverage, mud, and challenging obstacles. To get around in these areas, there may be much lower bodywork that includes stepping, lunging, jumping, bending, ducking, climbing, and walking.
Each part of the leg has unique strengths to help with different tasks. To reach the desired land or water area, some or all of the leg muscles will be used. Core muscles for balancing, standing, and maneuvering will also be needed and used for most, if not all, detectorist activities.
You will need to collect all the trash, leave the objects in appropriate bags to carry out and fill back the open holes. Such activities involve a lot of movements that are great ways to increase hand strength and maintain agility.
The back and stomach are also involved during physical activities associated with the hobby. Back muscles will generally remain active while walking, digging, carrying, and lifting as they support the arms and shoulders. Core muscles found in the stomach and abs will combine with legs and any frontal activity such as bending, sweeping, crawling, and getting up from the ground.
A strong stomach is helpful for all muscles, no matter if they are in the back, shoulders, arms, or legs. That’s, for example, an excellent reason to perform metal detecting as often as possible. It does not need to be every day, but twice a week is recommended for anyone wanting to improve their physical appearance while having fun.
It can keep your body fresh and active, so you will preserve a good condition while involved in those kinds of activities. That can later be helpful in many areas of your life. You will have more energy for your regular work and daily duties.
Protect Yourself During Exercises
However, please keep in mind, some types of work can be hazardous. Digging, for example, might lead to various injuries if it is not performed appropriately. All should be aware the ground might hide some potentially dangerous items that do not have to be left behind by human activities.
Weeds, sinkholes, fallen fencing, broken branches, poisonous plants, and native wildlife can all turn a good day into a bad one if gone unseen or ignored. Sharp rocks that go unnoticed can cause cuts, scrapes, or penetrate the skin.
Gloves and checking the surroundings are highly recommended before any digging takes place. Knee pads, eyewear, protected hands, and proper footwear are crucial to staying safe. Sunscreen or another proven sun protection should be mandatory to avoid sunburns and being overexposed to the sun’s UV rays. Always look for hazard signs that alert toxic materials, gas lines, active ammunition, or dangerous terrain.
Good For Mental And Overall Health
Metal detecting is best performed outdoors. While it can be done, it is highly unlikely that indoor detecting will uncover anything that has not already been found. The other problem with indoor detecting is the metallic objects used to construct buildings and the sensitivity of the detector’s coil that will cause constant beeping.
Working best in an outdoor environment, the body and mind are exposed to many beneficial circumstances that often go unmentioned or unthought-of when describing metal detecting habits. Not only will you be introduced to new settings and environments, but also fresh oxygen supplied by the plants and waterways where you are and vitamin D from the sun.
A full-body workout from all the physical activity also gives a place for relaxation, time to think without distraction, clear your mind, meditation, and enjoy the simplicity and beauty of what is around you.
Being in nature, you can expect positive benefits in many forms. A higher level of oxygen will support the everyday work of your heart and brain, so you can avoid many health problems known to be associated with those organs if you are frequently active as a metal detectorist.
Many heart illnesses are connected with inactivity, so those diseases develop faster if you avoid being active or are subjected to less movement throughout the entire day. The brain also works better if supplied with an appropriate amount of oxygen, which helps reduce stress, fatigue, and negative thought patterns.
People usually live stressful lives, so they are often overwhelmed with various problems. Negative energy, toxic environments, and unhealthy breathing air affect many people’s mental health. It is no secret big cities have higher levels of pollution, so it is worth taking advantage of when you have a chance to reduce the destructive influence of such circumstances and temporarily relocate to cleaner, less polluted places.
Physical activity is also an excellent approach to reducing stress and eliminating negative energy from your body and mind. At the same time, metal detecting can help you forget problems, focus on what is important, and recover positive energy in a healthy environment through appropriate activities.
Many believe metal detecting is an activity better suited for young and more agile people. However, such an opinion is quite far from the truth. Seniors can also get active in the hobby too. The good thing with metal detecting is that you are your boss.
You can select the area you want to hunt, determine the pace you want to move at, and choose the length of the time you want to explore. You are not obligated to spend entire days in any terrain or location if you do not wish to do so. One hour of metal detecting offers enough time and movement for seniors to recover fresh energy and activate all the muscles in their bodies.
Partner detecting is another way to be involved in the hobby. Working in pairs, one person primarily uses the metal detector while the other is in charge of handling the collection containers or bags. This reduces the strain put on the body but allows both people to be active and outdoors.
Anyone of appropriate health can get involved in metal detecting. There are a lot of online resources to learn detecting skills, how to research locations, purchase equipment, and join groups. You can even find metal detectors explicitly designed for kids to include the whole family in the experience.
Suppose you find yourself having a hard time researching detecting sites, using your metal detector, or understanding the general rules and expectations for the hobby. In that case, it is always recommended to join a metal detecting club.
Club members help one another to learn the trade and enjoy sharing stories behind their best finds. Clubs will typically meet at least once a month to go over general information, schedule group hunts, and enjoy each other’s company at meetings while developing friendships outside of club activities.