Squash has famously been dubbed ‘the world’s healthiest sport’ and it is famous for pushing players’ strength, balance and agility to the limit. Even casual squash fans admit that it compares to even some of the most energetic high intensity workouts. But squash is also fun and social.According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation, physical activity drastically improves general health and reduces the risk of certain diseases. In short, we should all do more sport – so why not choose the healthiest one out there?
Before delving into the health benefits of squash, it should be mentioned that just like any workout, warming up is extremely important before playing. This could prevent injury, and lead to better results while playing.
1. Squash is for all
Squash can be played at any age. It is easy to learn (but difficult to master). Furthermore, play styles, games and equipment can be modified to suit every size, gender and skill-level. Research has proven that racket sports improve children’s sociability, motor skills, eyesight and much more.
Jehangir Khan, won the World Amateur Championships at 15, even though he was advised by doctors not to play any sports due to his weak health. He eventually became one of the best players in the world. Since then, many younger players have entered the game. The Essex junior squash league even has competitions for under 13’s now. By contrast, Lance Kinder who only started playing at 40, is Britain’s oldest competitive squash player at the grand age of 80.
2. Squash is good for your heart
Squash reduces the risk heart disease by strengthening the heart muscles and preventing blood vessels from becoming clogged. Scientists at The University of Rochester have proven that playing a racket sport for just three hours per week can lower people’s blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing heart complications. A key to getting a good aerobic workout when playing squash is to keep rest periods brief (between 1-2 minutes at most). Squash players have an almost tribal loyalty to their chosen sport – that’s what make them great. But this sense of community has added benefits. Regular contact with your squash partners and friends leads to better social skills and contact with others. This social aspect activates the neural reward circuitry making our mindsets overall more positive – according to a 2014 study published in Oxford Journals.
Your squash partner cancelled on you? – Try an interactiveSquash game or training program which can be played solo for a fantastic squash-based workout.
3. Squash is good for your mental well-being
Many modern fitness trends are centered around burning calories, little more. Squash is the thinking man /or woman’s game and that has a host advantages. Smart strategy often trumps brute force. It also demands a laser-like focus leading to improved concentration in other aspects of life.
4. Squash targets the major muscles
Squash is full body workout. Obviously players’ arms get a workout as they whip the ball around the court but this compound movement also strengthens wrists and back muscles. It also requires short sprints which need fast-twitch muscles to be firing at all times.
5. Squash is playable all year round
Some countries have very harsh winters or summers. This can make it difficult for some to take regular exercise outdoors. Squash is an indoor, court-based sport making it perfect for those long winter months or stifling summer seasons.
There you have it: 5 great reasons to take up squash for the first time. Your body will thank you for it.