There are benefits common to all sports. You get fitter as you play, and as you need an opponent(s) or a partner there’s a highly social element, which creates commitment to playing and a feel-good factor afterwards. As your game improves, you want to play more and play better, which is when you begin to blend additional training alongside play. But badminton has some exclusive plus points that distinguish it from other sports. On top of the general benefits of badminton, there are some very specific upsides to playing this game.
1. More propulsions than other racket sports
The net sits 5ft high – one and a half feet above the tennis net, so the path of the shuttlecock has to be higher than those of tennis balls, ping pong balls and squash balls on every return.
Shuttlecocks don’t bounce so you have to keep them airborne while in play which means less time to think and generally higher hit heights, even on underarm returns, than other racket sports.
To sustain that height the game requires more jumps for overhead hits than in other sports.
Jumping is a ballistic move, one that requires short bursts of power. Collectively in the course of the game they give you a HIIT style workout that accesses your energy system in a different way to sports with less leaping. It means you metabolise your energy quickly, making badminton a high-calorie game.
The muscle fibres you use are also different to those for lower level games, and the power you build in the muscles make them leaner, stronger and fitter for purpose than slower, grounded games.
2. Speedy shuttlecock develops physical and mental agility
Don’t let the innocent-looking shuttlecock deceive you into believing badminton is an easy game. With a top speed of 201mph you have to be physically swift to reach it and mentally agile to work out where to move to return it and how to hit it to win.
The combined agility of mind and body that results breeds fantastic reflexes in the body and advances the ability to process thoughts and accurately develop a plan of action both on and off court.
3. More reach leads to better balance and flexibilty
The higher incidence of overhead hits compared with other sports means the body is in a less stable shape than the grounded and steady returns of other racket sports. When this is experienced repeatedly the body gradually becomes accustomed to being extended while moving.
Over time this improves balance as the core muscles rise to a new challenge during play.
Additionally the extension of the body and elevation of the arm are great for flexibility too. So, while many sports tighten muscles, badminton helps to lengthen them.
Together this means better posture, improved balance and advanced flexiblilty – all key components for a healthy lifestyle.
There’s really no bad in badminton!
And a final plus point is that it’s an indoor game so not weather or light dependent. So drop the excuses, dust off your shuttlecocks and have a smashing time playing the game.
Health Benefits of Badminton
It is a well-known fact that indulging in aerobic sports activity like badminton gives multiple health benefits and promotes longevity.
- Physical fitness: Between the running, lunging, diving and ball hitting, playing badminton burns fat at approximately 450 calories per hour. This kind of cardiovascular workout can help keep you in tip top shape, especially if you’re looking for a good alternative cross-training exercise.
- Increased muscle tone: Playing badminton builds and tones the quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings. In addition, your core muscles, arm and back muscles get a workout as well.
- Psychological benefits: Because badminton promotes physical fitness, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise increases endorphins, which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, and has also been found to improve mood and sleep.
- Social health: You’ll need at least one opponent, but you can also play with a teammate and two other opponents. The social interactions of a game will result in positive feelings after a session on the court. Joining a league can also help you become part of a community.
- Good for overall health: As with all forms of physical exercise, badminton can reduce or eliminate your risk for many health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It can also reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by reducing your triglyceride levels and increasing your “good” cholesterol.
- Flexibility and muscle strength: The more you move, the more flexible you become, especially in a sport like badminton where swinging and reaching are required. In addition to improving flexibility, players also gain muscle strength and endurance.
- Mobility: As we age, mobility becomes limited, but staying active can help prevent these problems. Keeping mobile lubricates your joints, preventing arthritis and similar conditions from developing.
- Weight loss: Badminton can also help with weight control because of its fat-burning and metabolism boosting qualities. Combined with proper diet, optimal weight loss may be achieved.
- Decrease diabetes: It can decrease the production of sugar by the liver and therefore can decrease fasting blood sugar. In fact, one study from the Diabetes Prevention Program found that exercise decreased the incidence of developing diabetes by 58% even better than medication.
In fact it has been found that playing badminton till you get an increase in heart rate or mild breathlessness regularly in middle age lowers the risk of death by about 23% in the subsequent 20 years and improves longevity by at least 2 years. The optimal health benefits of badminton are achieved by playing for at least 30 minutes a day after adequate warm up.
The main health benefits of badminton are reduction of bad cholesterol and increase in good cholesterol with regular badminton play. In our body, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) are bad cholesterols and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the only good cholesterol.
Playing badminton regularly increases the levels of HDL good cholesterol while decreasing the levels of bad cholesterols. As bad cholesterols decrease the size of blood vessels promoting heart attacks and strokes, reduction in their levels translates into multiple health benefits for the individual.
Playing regular badminton conditions the body so that the basal heart rate drops a few beats per minute and blood pressure is reduced. Both these effects are helpful in hypertensive individuals. It may help them to ward off their hypertension without medicines and even if they are needed, only fewer amounts are required.
Benefits of badminton extends as far as protection for your heart from heart disease, especially heart attacks. Playing badminton conditions and strengthens the heart muscle besides reducing hypertension and keeping blood vessels from clogging as we have seen earlier. Even people with pre-existing heart disease can benefit by playing badminton within their endurance levels under medical supervision and advise.
Regular indulgence in badminton helps overweight people to reduce their weight and attain optimal weight for their height and age. This effect is due to the excess calories burnt during playing badminton which prevents them from accumulating as fat and increasing the individual’s weight.
Moreover, the existing fat deposits are also mobilized to produce energy while playing badminton. But for achieving optimal weight loss, it has to be combined with diet modification as well.
Osteoporosis is a troublesome problem especially in the elderly and women after menopause. It occurs because the bones loose their density due to complex interactions between the body hormones, bone forming and bone dissolving cells. Individuals with osteoporosis can easily sustain fractures because of reduced bone strength to withstand stress and injury.
Osteoporosis can be prevented or delayed by playing badminton, as physical activity is one major factor that prevents osteoporosis, irrespective of your age and sex. Playing badminton promotes the activity of the bone forming cells and help in the assimilation of calcium in the bone matrix, thereby strengthening it.
Another to add to the list of health benefits of badminton, especially for regular players, is reduced incidence of cancers like cancer of the large bowel and cancer of breast.
Finally, keeps you feeling well, strong, motivated, enthusiastic and young. It helps ward off depression, anxiety, stress and increase self-esteem. It also helps you enjoy a better night’s sleep, minimising the incidence of pre-existing illnesses getting aggravated due to lack of sleep.
Been inspired to start playing? Check out our online store where you’ll find all the badminton equipment you need here.