16th March 2017.There's no denying that playing sports are some of the most effective ways of improving your personal fitness and physique. One look at just about any professional athlete is all it takes to see the excellent shape in which they keep their bodies. Though not everyone can play on that kind of level, it doesn't mean that all other individuals can't access the health benefits of athleticism. However, choosing the sport that you play for fitness isn't always easy. Do you choose to go for something standard and classic, like soccer, or does something else catch your interest? Perhaps the fast-paced game of badminton, with its shuttlecocks and small racquets, is the game you'd like to play. Is badminton a good fitness activity? It requires lots of speed and agility which is often the result of intensive training. Thus, there are plenty of good reasons to try it out for fitness purposes. Both the game itself and the preparations you'll need to make can help improve your body. However, like all physical activities, it does have some drawbacks as well. Let's look at the "pros and cons" of picking up badminton for fitness, plus a few pointers on how you could find your start in the sport.
The major health benefits of playing badminton
If you've ever played in a game of badminton or even a match of tennis, then you know you're often out of breath by the time someone scores the final point. The level of physical exertion should give you a hint towards one of the first major benefits to playing this sport: it's simply excellent for your cardiovascular health. As you dart to and from the net chasing the shuttlecock, you'll need lots of quick bursts of energy. That puts intense demands on your lungs and heart. Over time, it can help you improve your stamina and ability to play for long periods of time. If you find yourself easily winded as a beginner, though, we'll discuss how you can hit the gym to improve your abilities a little later. Your heart and lungs aren't the only body parts responsible for your agile changes in direction during a game of badminton, though. You need fast feet and strong muscles, like your calves, quads, and even your core. Of course, you'll need some strength in your forearms and deltoid muscles, too, so you can deliver a smash to the shuttlecock at the right moment. As you play more, you'll develop tone in these many muscles groups. Not only does this look nice, but it's also a sign that you're developing plenty of strength too. All this activity across your body adds up to another physical benefit: the potential for weight loss. A game of badminton, depending on the intensity level, could burn between 250 and 500 calories in an hour-long match. That's a lot, especially if you're carefully monitoring your diet while you work on your fitness. Overall, that makes it a robust sport to play for fitness. While it might not look like it at first, it can be a boon to your health. However, we should also consider that it is not always ideal for everyone.
The reality of the drawbacks surrounding badminton
The first drawback we should discuss is the potential impact badminton can have on one's joints. The surface of a badminton playing court is often hard and does not exhibit much "give" regarding flexibility. Because the game involves agile movements, this often means you are putting your feet down on the court surface with some force. While you likely won't do serious damage to your joints by playing regularly, it can exacerbate joint pain or problems for those who already experience them. There is also an elevated risk of a joint related injury because of the high-speed impacts. Hyperextensions and sprains are also possible when playing a vigorous match. An elbow sprain from working with the racquet could occur, too. Weighing these risks is a part of choosing whether badminton is the best sport for you. Speaking of how vigorously you play, though, that can be another drawback: it is easy to slow down the game. If you and your partner do not play very seriously, you won't come anywhere near to burning as many calories as you could. It takes a level of dedication to the game to engage and play each time you take the court. It may not be easy to begin playing, either. Is there a court nearby that's suitable for play? If there is, do you know someone who can join you? It's difficult to improve physically if you don't have a partner to act as competition. While this is more of a logistical problem than an issue with the sport itself, it can still be a tough challenge. However, you may be able to find a local badminton club or another organisation which offers it as an activity. Overall, there are only a few major downsides. Ensuring you are healthy enough to play is the most key among them.
Don't just play the sport ? hit the gym, too
If your body can stand up to the stresses of badminton, it's worth trying. However, it's important to remember that the sport alone cannot be the sole source of your fitness activity. Not only will it be an uphill battle to improve your game, but you also won't be maximising the potential fitness gains you could see. That's why it's important to train away from the court as well as playing the game. For example, what if your calves quit on you halfway through a match? It might be time to consider weight training. Squats or the leg press machine can help you improve the muscles that you use to jump around the court. If you're still out of breath chasing the shuttlecock, hit the treadmill or climb onto the spin machine. Any intensive cardio regimen can help you improve your endurance enough to see benefits from play. Using weights for curls or practising your bench press can help strengthen the muscles you use to swing the racquet. Put all these activities together with the game, and you'll find it's a fun and rewarding system for fitness. There are a few other reasons to think about picking up this game for your health as well.
Other reasons to consider trying badminton
There are many minor benefits to playing badminton that tie in either to your physical fitness or your overall wellness. For example, the sport will help you improve your ability to balance while also honing your hand-eye coordination. While these aren't typically considered "fitness" gains, they nonetheless confer positive benefits to individuals who train hard. A strong core and good stability is something worth preserving from youth all the way into old age. Flexibility gets a boost, too. Think of how often you'll need to stretch, lean, twist, or pivot to place your racquet in the path of the unpredictable shuttlecock. While it can leave you sore at first, this amount of activity can help you stay limber throughout your life. It's a very important part of one's overall health. Finally, there is a psychological benefit to playing the game as well, particularly if you partner up with a friend with whom you play matches. The social and competitive aspects of the game keep your mind sharp and interested in what's happening. When you put down your racquet to shake hands at the end of a tough match, you'll be able to enjoy a sense of satisfaction regarding your effort. Together, these add depth to the physical benefits.
Grab your racquet and find a playing partner
Whether you want to chase after the shuttlecock for the cardio workout it brings or just because it's a fun way to exercise, badminton has much to offer to all kinds of people. However, it's important to remember that it can be a high impact exercise, especially compared to other similarly vigorous activities. If your body is healthy enough to stand up to the stresses of pounding around the court, though, don't let anything hold you back. The more you practice, the better your game will become ? just as your overall health and wellness will improve, too. Find your practice partner, make some space in your schedule for the gym, and start enjoying this opportunity to reshape the way you exercise. Follow @SportNessUK