Squash is rapidly growing in popularity worldwide and with very good reason – the health benefits of playing squash are widely known and second to none. It’s also a very accessible game in that it can be played at any age and is relatively easy to learn at the basic level. It has a lot of rules in common with other racquet sports and this makes the transition to squash that little bit easier. However, it’s squash’s increasing reputation as a go-to sport for health and fitness for body and mind that makes it an attractive alternative to simply going to the gym.
Where does this reputation come from? Read on to learn more about the health benefits of playing squash…
1. Improves cardiovascular health
Anyone who’s ever walked out of a squash court dripping in sweat will be able to tell you that with all the running, jumping, diving and darting is giving your heart and lungs the greatest of workouts. This is indisputable – squash gets your cardiovascular system working at optimal efficiency. Your heart rate is generally up at all times, strengthening heart muscle, and the blood vessels are less likely to become clogged due to the increased blood flow. The muscles in the rest of your body will also appreciate this boost in oxygen as it will improve endurance and stamina.
2. Improves agility and flexibility
Each game of squash brings with it numerous opportunities to dart forward, leap backwards, twist, bend and sprint. It’s hard to keep up as a beginner but over time you’ll see that your games improves as your body adapts to these new stresses. Squash encourages players to change direction and movement at rapid intervals, developing skills of agility and nimbleness that no other sport can come close to. The fast-paced nature of the game encourages players to make movements outside their typical range of motion enabling joints and ligaments to stretch, promoting flexibility and blood flow.
3. Improves strength and fitness
Bursts of power are a common feature of squash, whether it’s darting for the ball, sudden changes of direction, or striking the ball with everything you have. These explosive actions coupled with sustained movement help tone your legs, arms and core as well as having a positive effect on your cardio health – simply put, squash is a full body workout. Limb, abdomen and back strength are all increased while regular games improve your aerobic fitness to boost your heart, muscle and lung endurance.
4. Helps with weight loss
The intense aerobic workout and use of both upper and lower body muscles is what makes squash an excellent way to lose weight. If you’ve not yet played a game but have managed to observe others then you’ll still be aware of how little down-time there is. From start to finish each player is continually on the move, continually using making demands on their muscles with very little recovery time, burning a shed load of calories each game. In fact, in a 30 minute squash session you’ll be burning an average of 500 calories!
5. Promotes mental wellbeing
How does squash promote mental wellbeing? When you first start to play your primary focus will be on the physicality of the game, but over time your approach will begin to switch to the more cerebral aspect – squash is the thinking persons game. Strategic decisions will be made quickly and under pressure, giving you just as much a mental workout as a physical one! It’s a tremendous stress reliever and when you combine this with the social aspect of the game (you can’t play alone after all) then you begin to see why it’s often rated so highly as a means of burning off nervous energy, work stress or frustration. No matter what level you’re playing at you can’t beat that sense of personal achievement – regardless of whether you’ve won or not – in knowing that you’ve pushed yourself to the limits and played to the best of your ability.
So there you go, our top 5 health benefits of playing squash. What are you waiting for? Pick up your racquet and book yourself a court – your body will thank you for it!