12th December 2016. The winter poses one of the biggest hurdles for any individual focused on their fitness. During the rest of the year, sticking to your exercise regimen isn't too difficult. If you have the motivation to get outside and work out, you'll usually stay on top of improving your fitness. Rain can sometimes threaten to keep you indoors, but often, it's just an extra challenge to overcome. Once the winter arrives, though, that's not always possible. The temperatures can quickly plunge well below the freezing point. If you live in an area that's no stranger to heavy snow in the winter, going out for your usual exercise might even be impossible. Whether you want to beat the cold or an outdoor workout is out of the question, you'll need to find a new activity. You should aim for something that keeps you active, engaged, and has an element of challenge. Why not try badminton? Believe it or not, badminton can be an excellent workout all winter long! Not only do you only need a small amount of equipment, but there are also many indoor badminton courts. Staying out of the snow is easy when you're spending all your time chasing after the shuttlecock. Aside from leveraging indoor courts to get out of the cold, why else should you turn badminton in the winter? Let's break down why it's so good for you. We'll also consider how you can take full advantage of its benefits.


Why should you choose badminton to begin with?

If you're wondering why badminton would be a good choice for a winter exercise, just take a moment to consider the sport of tennis. Have you ever played a set? Moving around all over the court takes a lot more energy than it seems as an observer! It's not easy to play tennis in the winter, though, given how often the weather may interfere. That's what makes badminton such an excellent idea right from the beginning. We've mentioned the indoor courts already; you may even be able to find a badminton club that practices and plays at these courts. Even without a court, a large indoor space and another player are all you really need to play. That makes it easy and versatile ? just find an open gymnasium and start a game. To get exciting, fun, and yet vigorous exercise, badminton is an excellent choice. Let's break down the ways it works out your body.


The whole-body benefits to badminton

Foremost, of course, are the cardiovascular benefits. The nimble footwork required to dart around the court will get your blood pumping in no time. Badminton itself is almost like a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). How? You spend periods at rest punctuated by sudden and very intense bursts of movement. The rapid velocity and quirky trajectories of the shuttlecock mean you may frequently need to move from the back to the front of the court and vice versa. This quick movement demands tonnes of oxygen, sending your heart straight into the fat burning zone. You could be burning hundreds of calories an hour while playing badminton. Not bad for a sport you can pick up for the winter! Badminton is good for your joints and muscles, too. It's a game that requires flexibility and reach. With practice, you can continue to loosen up your body. The muscles in your legs and core need to do a tonne of work to keep up with the demands of badminton as well. While you won't develop a whole lot of muscle mass with badminton, you can certainly improve your tone or maintain your current fitness level. The reflexes, flexibility, and increased agility that you can develop over a winter of playing badminton can help you later in the spring. Do you prefer to play other sports outdoors the rest of the year? The skills you learn with the racquet can help you to be more competitive as you put them to use somewhere else. Finally, on the list of reasons why this game should be in your line-up for the winter: it's fun and social! No one enjoys being snowbound or stuck inside the whole winter long. Seasonal affective disorder is a real thing, and exercise can help to combat its effects. By getting into a fast-paced game with friends or a badminton club, you can work out and socialise at the same time. Not only will be able to maintain or improve your overall physical fitness, but you'll be doing yourself a world of good for your mental wellness to boot.


Using the gym as a path for improving your badminton game

Once you pick up the game and start playing, you might decide that you'd like to improve your ability. A competitive spirit certainly helps sustain the fires of motivation in the wintertime! While practice and more sets of badminton will move you towards improvement, you can take other steps as well. Why not take advantage of all the indoor equipment in the gym or even the open space of a badminton court? Not only are there exercises you can do to help hone your racquet skills, but plenty of drills to work on your agility and reflexes as well. You could play a shadow game, where you simply dart from the centre to a corner and back again as quick as you're able. This exercise is its own workout! You can also enlist a friend to help you practice volleys and serves. Want to improve your ability to smash the shuttlecock over the net? Try dumbbell exercises or cables to build up better upper body strength. Leg presses, squats, and other similar strength training activities will help to improve the muscle groups in your legs key to playing badminton. You can even just go for a plain old run on the treadmill to develop more cardiovascular endurance. The options are limitless, and all of them tie back into badminton. It's not hard to see that this sport is a gateway to all kinds of winter fitness activities. What kind of role should it play in your routine, though? Should you switch to badminton full time, or just take part in a game now and again? The answer, as always, depends on the individual.


Badminton's place in your overall winter routine

If you're tempted to simply take the winter off and use it as one long rest period, don't! It's important for you to stay the course. You can see significant decreases in your fitness over the winter months if you just stop exercising. So, if you're planning to use badminton as a method for getting your fitness time in, it's important to commit. While you don't need to play every single day, it's important to play on at least a semi-regular basis. If you plan to supplement the games of badminton with gym exercise, you obviously won't need to play every day. A few games a week could be all you need to enjoy yourself and stay fit. However, getting in as much time on the court as possible will only help you in the long run. The more you exercise in the winter, the better you'll feel in the spring. It's not the time to slack off; rather, it's best to power forward and continue to develop. On days when you can't find a partner, or you don't feel like using the gym machines, you can fall back on your badminton drills. They can be done alone without complication. As we've discussed, they'll be a pretty strenuous workout on their own! Just remember always to warm up and cool down properly to help prevent sport- and fitness-related injuries.


Ready your racquet for winter & find a court soon!

By the time the winter draws to a close and the spring thaw arrives, you may find your badminton game is much improved! Even if you still have struggles as you strike at the shuttlecock, your body will be reaping the benefits. From the intense cardio to serving as a gateway to other exercises, you'll be in good shape to pick up where you left off in the spring. For the truly dedicated, you may even want to push yourself harder. Can you come out of the winter fitter than it began? With badminton as a part of your winter workout routine, you just might.