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If you don’t know much about the sport known as curling, apparently, you’re not alone. We surveyed our friends and family, and no one seems to know much about it. To spare people humiliation, we won’t name names, but one family member confused curling with shuffleboard and one friend thought curling was similar to bowling. However, after learning about it ourselves, we schooled each of them on the five ways their life could be improved by curling, and now they all (well, at least a few of them) are considering taking up the hot Olympic sport -- or at least watching it during the Olympics.

Before we dive into why you may want to consider taking on this sport, here’s the 411:

Curling is a team sport that’s played on ice. Each team "delivers" eight granite stones toward a target, which is called a "house." While each stone is being delivered, team members sweep the ice with brooms, to melt it and influence how straight or how "curled" the stone’s path will be. (There’s an entire science behind it.) The object: to maneuver the stones around guards and ultimately get them into the house to win. 

Here are five reasons to try curling yourself:

1. It requires smarts. Curling has been compared to chess in the way that it challenges the mind. There’s a lot of technique involved. The friction and the speed at which you sweep the ice both impact the path the stone takes -- whether it curls, stays straight or travels further. Learning the strategy and research behind this makes for one smart cookie.

2. It burns a lot of calories. The average curling game lasts 2.5 hours, and let’s face it: Doing anything active for that length of time is going to burn calories. But curling can be particularly demanding, and aggressive sweeping is an extremely high-intensity exercise. Even if players are just sweeping for 20 seconds at a time, curling can burn anywhere from 600 to 2,000 calories per game. If you weigh 155 pounds or more, you’d have to walk for more than nine hours at 3.5 miles per hour to burn 2,000 calories. And if you weigh less, you’d have to walk even longer!

3. It tones the whole body. You may think sweeping is all about the arms, but it actually engages the muscles in your legs and core as well, making curling the perfect sport for toning your entire body.

4. It may be your best shot at becoming an Olympian. Although curling is the fastest-growing winter sport (according to the Royal Caledonian Curling Club), it’s not as popular as golf or figure skating. So there’s a lot less competition.

5. It can help you meet the opposite sex. Aside from the fact that some curling teams are coed, having the qualities described in items one through four will certainly impress potential dates. 

Ready to take the plunge? Go to curling camp or join a team near you! You can find out more at The World Curling Federation's website.

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