While traditionally Australians have always been associated with tennis, football or cricket, with the growing influx of multicultural influences, interest in Badminton as a sport and as a way to keep fit, has seen a steady rise. And likewise, in many other countries around the world too.
Badminton as a Sport
Studies have shown that taking up a sport in your youth or middle age translates into increased fitness as you grow older. Badminton has always been about nimbleness and flexibility, of using technique to score rather than having outright brute strength. It is a sport that can realistically be taken up at all ages; most recreational clubs even have players in their 50s and 60s. Since badminton matches are held indoors, it can be played no matter how fierce the weather outside. Badminton Australia estimates that there are currently more than 300 clubs offering a place to play badminton (source).
Badminton vs. Going to the Gym
New Year Resolutions aside, most people join a gym with great enthusiasm, only to quit a few weeks in. If you’re debating taking up badminton for fitness, you will be pleased to read that playing badminton is akin to a full body workout. Livestrong.com estimates that even a low intensity hour long game of badminton can help you burn at least 310 calories.
However, playing a sport like badminton will keep you engaged like no gym will. How, you ask? The answer is in the mental stimulation that badminton provides.
While any sort of exercise arguably leaves you feeling pleased with yourself, badminton will keep your mind alert because of the very nature of the sport. Badminton is widely recognized as the world’s fastest racquet sport. A shuttlecock can reach top speeds of 493 km/hr outside of competition. In competition, it has been recorded at 419 km/hr in Men's Singles and 426 km/hr in Men's Doubles. To put that in perspective, a Eurostar train can only hit a maximum speed of 300 km/hr!
Reducing Weight and Fat Loss Through Badminton
Since a shuttlecock doesn’t bounce like a tennis ball, it needs to be kept airborne constantly for the game to proceed. The height of the net is also considerably higher as compared to lawn tennis or table tennis. Therefore, to get the shuttlecock over to yo
ur opponent’s side, you will have to stretch your arms and also jump higher than you would, to hit a ball in tennis. Jumping constantly to hit the shuttlecock produces very similar reults to a High Intensity Interval Training. Badminton also helps in lengthening your muscles because you are constantly extending your body to hit that shuttlecock with force. Talk about agility and challenging your core muscles!
A recent study has shown that a good game of badminton can getyour heart rate up, with the average heart rate (HR) going to 80-85% of the person’s maximum HR, as compared to tennis, which gets your HR to about 68-70%. Maintaining your heart rate at about 80% of your maximum HR is ideal for burning fat and aiding weight loss.
What does Badminton Do to Your Heart
Would it surprise you that the British Journal of Sports Medicine has actually conducted studies where they found that the risk of death was significantly lower amongst Badminton players as compared to people who swim or cycle? The Daily Express did an interesting article on the study, read it here. Badminton strengthens your heart muscles which leads to better cardiovascular health. And because you can always vary the actual pace of the game, it can be played by people who have existing heart conditions who may not be able to play other intense sports.
Mental Benefits of Playing Badminton
We’ve mentioned earlier that playing badminton keeps you mentally fit. With the fast volleying of the shuttlecock, your brain is constantly deciding the next shot or the next serve, thus sharpening your reflexes.
It’s a no brainer that badminton also improves your hand-eye coordination which is an important cognitive skill to survive today’s high intensity life.
We’ve already established that a game of badminton can be intense and because you have to concentrate on what you’re doing, your mind cannot drift away unless you want to be smacked on the head with a shuttlecock! Perhaps not as painful as getting hit in the face with a basketball, but there’s no need to prove us wrong here really!! A good game of badminton can be a great stress reliever, allowing you to easily forget the day’s occurrences with a good dose of endorphins.
If you’re playing in a club, you also have the added advantage of meeting new people and expanding your circle. We don’t need to tell you that more friends usually mean a more active social life, which can increase your life span by as much as 8-9 years.
For the reader with a more scientific bent of mind, there are numerous studies that have looked into how the body responds to a game of badminton. If you’d like to know more, here are some good reads:
Did we help make up your mind? Get out to your local court and give badminton a try. We can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Heck, you might even come out with a huge grin on your face! You’re welcome!
Main image source: <a href="http://www.freepik.com">Designed by Freepik</a>