The sport of squash combines speed, endurance, and movement in copious amounts. As such, it has immense benefits for your physical and mental health. But being healthy and losing weight do not necessarily mean the same thing. So, does the fact that squash is a healthy sport means that you can lose weight by playing squash?
Squash involves a very intensive fitness regime, both on and off the court, that can help you to burn fat, lose weight, and get healthy. Playing squash will also give you the cardio exercise required to release endorphins that will help you feel less stressed on your weight loss journey.
As you progress towards your goal of losing weight, and if you choose squash as the sport to help you achieve your goal, your weight loss mission will never be boring, especially if you have a partner that will keep you on your toes. Let’s look at how squash can help you lose weight and some things that could somewhat limit the weight-loss advantages of playing squash.
How Can Squash Help You To Lose Weight?
Squash is a relatively easy activity to pick up if you are considering losing weight. Within the first 15 minutes, you will have your body, heart, and mind panting and begging for a break, depending on how unfit you may be. If you are determined enough to lose weight and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve your goal, squash is an excellent option to consider.
Since squash is such an active sport that will get your heart pumping, you will need to work on your fitness and do more bodyweight training outside of the court as well. At the same time, you must ensure that your mental health is to endure all the strain you will put your body through.
Going all out and playing vigorous squash can burn up to 500 calories, which is an intense workout. But if your mental health isn’t in place, no amount of exercise will ever give you perfect results. Squash can assist with both sides – your mental and physical health.
Nobody said that you wouldn’t have to make a few sacrifices. But once you truly commit your mind to do something good for yourself, you are already halfway there. Playing squash and following healthier habits, in general, will improve your life so much that you won’t look back.
The Advantages Of Playing Squash
Playing squash will improve you in ways you don’t even think about. The best squash experience, and one of the best workouts you will ever endure, usually comes when you play squash with people you normally don’t interact with. This not only improves your squash game and your physical health but also helps you to socialize.
Squash will test your endurance. This isn’t just a game of hitting a ball against four walls; there is so much more to this sport. You will have to learn the proper techniques to avoid injuries. And if you are serious about losing weight and enjoy playing squash, you will have to work on your fitness and body training outside of the squash court too.
Squash doesn’t just help you lose weight by hitting a ball against a wall. Squash is a strenuous sport, and you will also have to work on your fitness and muscle strength outside of playing squash. Otherwise, you simply won’t be able to keep up with the game. This improves your weight loss mission and helps you achieve your goals much faster.
As you can see, playing squash has tremendous benefits, both physically and mentally, and losing weight is just one of them. Let’s look at these benefits more closely.
Physical Advantages Of Playing Squash
By playing squash, and we mean really playing, by working on your technique and genuinely giving 100%, you will burn far more calories than most people can consume in a day. This is how effective playing squash can be. In a recreational game of squash, the average person burns between 500 and 700 calories per hour. Competitive games push this to between 850 and 1,150 calories.
We know that squash will push your endurance levels, but let’s look at some other physical advantages of playing squash that people don’t always think of:
- Playing squash will improve your body strength, especially if you endure the physical pain and do not give up after spending only 15 minutes on the squash court.
- Playing squash will improve your cardiovascular levels. This means that your heart will pump much harder to keep your blood flowing and maintain the proper oxygen supply to your body. This is a good thing, and you will have to keep this up to improve your health.
- Your balance will improve. You will have to learn to play the ball from low to high, step into movements when hitting the ball, and all of this without injuring yourself, with a ball that can sometimes come at you hard and fast.
- You will notice that squash tests your agility and improves your skill as you get fit.
- It will also improve your hand and eye coordination since you will have to follow the ball with your eyes, make quick movements and think faster on your feet while also thinking faster with your upper body.
- Playing squash is fun and fast-paced. As you grow into the game of squash, you will become more confident, which will make the game more competitive, leading to even more improvements on all levels, including weight loss.
- You will improve your self-image, feel better about yourself, and enjoy life more because you will have the energy to do more.
- You will be fit and more active. By this time, you should have activities other than playing squash, like cardio doing some weightlifting exercises to improve your upper-body strength.
- And, of course, one of the primary benefits of playing squash is that you will lose weight. You will reduce your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It will also lower your cholesterol levels. Your doctor will sign off a good bill of health only a few months after you’ve started playing squash.
Mental Advantages Of Playing Squash
So yes, you will lose weight by playing squash and feel great while doing it. But as we already mentioned, good mental health is just as crucial for weight loss. Thankfully, squash has plenty of positive effects on your mental health that will aid you in your weight loss journey and help make you healthier.
Here are some of the mental health benefits of playing squash:
- You will release stress. This counts for both new and built-up tension. You won’t believe how much more stress-free you feel after a good workout, and playing squash is an excellent workout.
- If you struggle with anxiety, sport and a more active lifestyle are good, healthy ways to reduce anxiety. Squash is very effective at battling anxiety, even anxiety over weight loss.
- Playing squash can help against the early signs of depression. Once the symptoms start showing themselves, squash can help reduce them and combat the development of full-on clinical depression by releasing endorphins or feel-good hormones.
Overeating is a common side-effect of depression, so not only does squash help burn the extra weight gained from overeating, but it also combats the root of the problem, namely the depression itself.
- Squash improves your concentration levels, learning abilities, and even judgment skills. As you get more active, you will improve your stamina and ability to focus more on the things that truly matter to you.
- Your sleep patterns will improve. One common thing we tend to do when we’re tired is eating. Bad sleeping patterns lead to more fatigue. A good exercise routine like squash will help balance out your energy levels, creating healthier sleep patterns.
- When we are socially active, we also improve our mental health. Squash is a social game by nature, and when you play squash, you will find yourself surrounded by people that are supportive of you and want to help you on your journey of losing weight.
Other Physical Activities That Will Help You With Your Squash Game
As already mentioned, when you start playing squash seriously (even if it’s still just recreational), you will have to invest more time into other physical activities to help improve your squash game. These added physical activities help to ensure faster weight loss since you’re now not only exercising one or two times per week on the squash court but getting plenty of exercise in between, too.
Here are some other physical activities you can participate in to help improve your squash game and lose more weight in the process.
If you want to play squash at all, whether competitively or recreationally, you have to be able to endure the entire 40 minutes to an hour of workout that squash will provide. If you are serious about losing weight, you must make the necessary sacrifices. One of those is to find a cardiovascular activity that you can do outside of the time you spend playing squash.
These cardio exercises include jogging, running, swimming, hiking, rowing, and cycling. Some of these can help you more than others. Hiking is a good option, especially if you can find a place near you that will have you climbing rocks, reaching out to get to some unreachable regions, climbing uphill, and striding downhill. All of this will use the same muscles you use while playing squash.
Cardio exercise is valuable for weight loss, too, since it burns more energy than you would typically burn. Because your heart pumps faster and your breathing rate increases, you will burn more and more calories and get closer to your weight loss goals.
Body Weight Training
Squash requires plenty of upper-body strength to handle an hour-long session of passing a racket from hand to hand and constantly hitting the ball. One of the best ways to improve upper-body strength is through an entire body weight training routine.
This doesn’t involve intense weight training that will make you look like a bodybuilder. Body weight training involves exercises that use your body’s weight to strengthen muscles, leading to improved strength, toned muscles, and better endurance without bulking up. People with too much muscle mass generally struggle with sports like squash.
Some of the body weight exercises you can do include squats, rowing, and maybe lifting a few weights that are focused on strengthening your upper body and core. Doing this also helps your balance, which is vital in a squash game. The great thing about these activities is that you don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t want to. All of these can quickly be done at home.
One important point to mention is that bodyweight training, or any type of weight exercise, can do the opposite of “weight loss” in the most literal sense. If you’re talking about weight loss, as in weighing less on a scale, too much weight training won’t work for you. This is because muscles weigh more than fat, so your weight can increase instead of decrease as you replace fat with muscle.
But if you’re talking about losing weight as another way of saying “getting rid of excess fat,” weight training will be a great help. As you train your body to be better at squash, you will also burn the calories and get closer to your health goals.
Incorporating squats into your routine will help you with your lower body strength. The movements you make while doing squats are similar to some of the stretching moves you may have to make during a squash match.
Squats help improve your knee movements and strengthen the muscles around your knees. Squash often requires that you step into a forehand move, which is where it helps to have the leg and hip strength you get from squats.
Though they are effective, you don’t necessarily need a rowing machine to do this workout. If you have some weights, either dumbbells or kettlebells, you can do the same row technique by going into a squatting pose with the weights in your hands and simply row, row, row your boat.
However, if you happen to be at a gym, use the rowing machines. They are great for building upper body strength, but they are also cardio exercises, so rowing machines are a double whammy that covers both squash and weight loss. What is also great about this workout is that it will increase your stamina, which means you will be able to endure longer on (and off) the squash court.
Doing some weight training will increase your upper body strength. It also teaches you how to use your arms and wrists, which is vital when you’re playing squash. Squash requires strong wrist movements in order to play the ball accurately and effectively. But as with the other exercises mentioned here, practical weight training will also burn calories and get your body more toned.
As with any good workout, you must do your warmups before doing anything else. It is essential to do your stretches since working out while your muscles are still cold could cause injuries, which is the last thing you need.
We now know that vigorously playing squash for 45 minutes burns 500 calories. But having said this, since your mind is set on losing weight, be sure never to eat more than the number of calories that you will be able to burn off with your exercise regime. Consuming more than you burn makes even the most rigorous exercise worthless and futile.
How To Start Losing Weight By Playing Squash
Okay, so you decided that squash is the option for you to lose your excess weight and maintain it. Now what?
One of the first things you should consider is not just finding a club where you can play squash, but you should consider getting a good coach that can teach you the basics, like body movements, to minimize injuries.
This coach also can suggest a good squash partner once you’ve gotten into the swing of things. Once you have the basics down, you and this partner can challenge one another in ways you can only imagine.
All is said and done, and yes, we now know that squash is one of the best workouts you will ever have in your life. Not only will it help you towards your goal of losing weight, but you will have fun doing it. It is a balanced exercise for your body and mind, and even after just a month of playing squash, you will struggle to remember a time when you didn’t feel as good as you do now.