Squash is a fast-paced, high-energy sport; even playing for 30 minutes can burn off many calories. This is why so many people looking to lose weight could play this sport, as it burns calories quickly in a short time , but how many calories on average can you burn playing squash?
The number of calories you burn off during a squash game will depend on your weight and the duration and intensity of play. Still, an average person can burn between 500 and 700 calories per hour in a recreational game and between 800 and 1150 calories during competition.
But while this is an average, several factors will determine how many calories you burn playing squash, so let’s get on the court and understand more about how you burn calories during the game and how the different levels and durations affect the calories burned.
What Makes Squash Such A Fast-Paced Game
Compared to other racquet sports, except for racquetball which some would argue is the American version of the game, squash is probably the fastest moving indoor court game. There are very few stops in this game, and you spend most of the game running and stretching.
Both of those activities are high-calorie burners, and there are also short explosive movements coupled with periods of less strenuous exercise. However, you are never standing still during the points being played.
Even during the warmup, you can start sweating and breathing; the other consideration is the on-court temperature. A squash court can either be fully enclosed with four high walls and a single door to access the court on the back wall, or it is fully enclosed on three sides, with the back glass wall that isn’t as high as the other three sides walls.
This means the on-court temperature gets progressively warmer during play, contributing to the number of calories burned. Playing a high-tempo cardio-based sport in a friendly environment means one thing, sweat – and plenty of it!
Remember that if you are sweating and breathing hard, you are burning calories, and in the game of squash, you can go from zero to one hundred in a very short space of time! Aside from the game itself and the heat, several other factors affect how fast and how many calories you burn on average playing squash, so let’s examine those in greater detail.
How Your Weight Affects How Many Calories Your Burn Playing Squash
In squash, as with most other sports, your weight is crucial in how many calories you burn during any given activity. This is because you use more energy and power to move a heavier weight around at speed than you would for less weight.
So a squash player that weighs 205lbs or 180lbs will burn more calories on average over a 30- or 60-minute squash session than a person weighing 155lbs, and the differences in calories burned can be pretty significant.
These figures include breaks and stoppages, while the MET figures would not, which is why the MET figures will be higher.
How Many Calories On Average Would You Burn Over 30 Minutes Of Squash
For example, a person weighing 205 lbs would burn 559 calories, at 180lbs you would burn off around 491 calories for a 30-minute session, and someone weighing 155lbs would burn off 422 calories – that’s a difference of 69 calories across the board or about 16% more calories between the two heaviest players.
The percentage is the same between the 180lbs and the 155lbs player, but between the heaviest and lightest players, that difference is much more significant at 137 calories or almost 33%! So a person weighing 205lbs would burn nearly one-third more calories than someone weighing 155lbs when playing squash for the same time.
How Many Calories On Average Would You Burn Over 60 Minutes Of Squash
Playing for an hour, those same players would burn a lot more calories and remember that these calculations are taken over a recreation game, not a competitive match.
The person weighing in at 155lbs would burn 844 calories on average, the player at 180lbs would burn around 981 calories, and the heaviest player weighing 205lbs would burn about 1117 calories over a 60-minute game of squash.
The differences here are the same percentage-wise, so while you burn more calories over 60 minutes, you burn them at the same rate as you would over 30 minutes. The only reason heavier players burn more calories is the energy and power needed, but this is not an indicator of fitness or ability and should not be confused.
How To Calculate How Many Calories On Average You Would Burn Playing Squash
There is a specific calorie-burning formula you can use to calculate how many calories you would burn while playing squash, and because it is metric based, you would need to convert your weight from pounds to kilograms to use this formula.
This calculation is called the MET formula, a measure of physical exertion for activity over a specific time. It incorporates your body weight and the type of activity involved, and each sport is rated at a different MET.
To give you some perspective, 1 MET is the equivalent of sitting on your couch doing nothing, not even digesting food! Now, let’s break the MET formula down so you can use it right now and see how many calories you could burn playing squash!
The MET Formula For Calculating Calorie Burn During Squash
The formula for calculating the total number of calories burned per minute is as follows:
Total Calories Burned Per Minute = (3.5 x Weight(kg) x MET) / 200, and then you would multiply that result by the number of minutes you played to get the total calories burned.
Squash has two MET numbers for this calculation: general or recreational and competitive.
The MET for general play in squash is 7.3; for competitive squash, this number is 12! So competitive squash is almost double the MET number- so if you want to burn calories, take up squash competitively.
Let’s plug in the numbers and work this recreational and competitive squash formula to get the average calories burned.
Calculating How Many Calories A 155lb Player Would Burn Playing Recreational Squash
Using the MET formula to calculate how many calories a 155lb player would burn over 30 minutes and 60 minutes for both recreational and competitive squash, we would get the following results :
- Convert 155lbs to kilograms by dividing by 2.2 = 70.45
- Then drop that into the formula and add the MET figure for recreational squash, which is 7.3
- 3.5 x 70.45 x 7.3 / 200 = 1788.5/200 = 8.99 calories per minute
- X 30 minutes = 269 calories
- X 60 minutes = 539 calories
Competitive Squash Calorie Calculator For The Same Player
Using the same formula, we would then arrive at the number used in the average calories burned in competitive play by using the MET for competitive squash, which is 12 :
- 3.5 X 70 X 12 / 200 = 14.7 calories per minute burned
- X 30 minutes = 441 calories
- X 60 minutes = 882 calories
Calculating How Many Calories A 180lb Player Would Burn Playing Recreational Squash
The formula for the 180lb player would be identical for recreational and competitive squash, but just using the 180 lbs in the formula, which is 82kg.
- 3.5 x 82 x 7.3 / 200 = 10.47 calories per minute
- X 30 minutes = 322 calories
- X 60 minutes = 644 calories
For competitive squash , those numbers would be :
- 3.5 x 82 x 12 /200 = 17.22 calories per minute
- X 30 minutes = 516 calories
- X 60 minutes = 1033 calories
Calculating How Many Calories A 205 lb Player Would Burn Playing Recreational Squash
The formula for the 205lb player would be identical for recreational and competitive squash, but just using the 205 lbs in the formula, which is 93kg.
- 3.5 x 93 x 7.3 / 200 = 11.88 calories per minute
- X 30 minutes = 356 calories
- X 60 minutes = 712 calories
For competitive squash , those numbers would be :
- 3.5 x 93 x 12 /200 = 19.53 calories per minute
- X 30 minutes = 586 calories
- X 60 minutes = 1033 calories
As you can see, the formula is relatively straightforward, and you can use it with your weight to see what your calorie burn would be during recreational and competitive squash sessions.
Recreational squash would be moderately vigorous too, but as you can see from the calorie counts in the calculations above, the intensity level with competitive squash is considerably higher.
Recreational Vs. Competitive Squash – What’s The Difference In Calories Burned
The difference in calories burned between recreational and competitive squash is about 45% higher in competitive matches, and this is because there are not as many breaks. The overall intensity is lower in recreational games as there is no competitive incentive.
This doesn’t mean that recreational games are not competitive; just the opposite! Some casual games evolve into World Championship finals in intensity, especially where competitors are evenly matched, becoming a test of skill and fitness.
Why Squash Is Considered One Of The Best Ways To Burn Calories
Squash is a fun game to play with friends. Still, even casual games burn a decent amount of calories, so starting at this level is a great way to get into the sport and burn off some energy. Playing squash two or three times a week is also ample cardiovascular exercise.
The game is punctuated with bursts of high-intensity movements. Then it slows and then explodes again, which is very similar to HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training, a well-known method for increasing heart rate and calorie burn.
Squash is also a full-body workout, so unlike running or walking on a treadmill, which becomes almost meditative after a while, your brain is also working during a game of squash as you need to think on your feet during the game to be able to react quickly on the court.
Playing two or three times a week will also help lower blood pressure and relieve stress, and the calorie-burning all makes for a healthy overall exercise option; plus, there is an excellent social aspect to the game.
Where Does Squash Rank In Calories Vs. Other Workouts?
In research done by Forza, they asked what the top ten best sports were for burning calories. You might think CrossFit, swimming, or cycling would rank in the top three, but you’d be wrong!
The top five workouts that burn the most calories are :
- Boxing – 800 cal/hour
- SQUASH – 748 cal/hour
- Lake rowing – 740 cal/hour
- Road running ( fast/ medium pace) – 700 cal/ hour
- Swimming (Crawl/butterfly) – 680 cal /hour
As you can see, the top three workouts are full-body exercises and rank well above more established cardio sports like swimming and running.
If you consider the fitness level of boxing and then look at squash in terms of calories, the difference between the two is only about 6.5% in terms of calories burned, and, unless you get hit in the face or anywhere else during play, you’re unlikely to come away with any bruises or injuries!
Squash ranks as high as it does because, compared to other racquet sports, there are fewer breaks between the rallies. The periodic rest period of one to two minutes between points gives squash its intermittent cardio properties, plus all the major muscle groups are utilized and your mental faculties; plus, it can be played all year round!
Squash is one of the best (if not the best) overall workouts for people of any age, and while it is essential to start slowly and build up fitness, there is no doubt that in terms of calorie-burning, there is no better workout than a game of squash.
Now that you know how many calories on average you would burn playing squash, it’s time to get kitted out and get on the court, and even if you have never played before, you can still enjoy the tremendous benefits of this exciting game has to offer!