If you are doing any form of sport, that is a good thing, as it means you are exercising and trying to keep healthy. However, perhaps you have decided that you like the notion of squash and are interested in what type of workout you will get from it. Apart from the enjoyment and excitement of the sport, there are various benefits to playing it, so let us see if it is any good.
Squash offers some of the greatest returns regarding overall fitness when played; it is a demanding sport. If you are not already fit, it will have you improving in various avenues in a short period. Some of the benefits of squash include increased cardiovascular strength and weight loss.
You will unlikely find a sport that will improve your overall fitness and health as squash does. The sport is high-paced and intense, but do not be dismayed if you are unfit, as it will aid you to reach your fitness peak relatively quickly if you play frequently enough. Apart from that, there are other elements to squash, such as its social nature and the improvement it brings to mental health.
Will Squash Give You A Good Workout?
Squash takes place indoors and is one of many racket sports people love to play. Usually, the sport is played with two players, but there are instances where four players may be on the court at a time. Four walls surround you, and you play with a hollow rubber ball that requires warming up before the game can commence. It is a fast-moving sport, so be prepared.
Although you need at least one other player to engage in the game, you do not necessarily have to have a squash partner to be able to play. Many squash centers have tournaments intended for those who wish to play leisurely, or you may well find that if you go and practice by yourself, there will be other people looking for someone to play against.
But with this in mind, you must realize that squash is one of the most challenging sports. To be successful as a squash player, you need to keep in impeccable shape and dedicate yourself to constantly bettering your game and overall fitness. It will not come overnight, but with perseverance, you will eventually find yourself having a ball of a time on the court.
If you do not believe us, then perhaps you might be interested in a study that was done where in 2003, Forbes ranked squash as the top contender for being a healthy, calorie-burning game where cardio and muscle endurance was put to the test as well as flexibility and strength.
They might have a slightly biased point of view on the matter, but that does not stop the Professional Squash Association (PSA) from dubbing squash as one of, if not the most challenging racket sports there is around today.
Squash offers a full-body workout and thus making it a more all-round form of sport. You can get a fair amount of work done in a relatively short time, especially compared to some other sports, which are less taxing, and you can endure the workout for longer.
Squash also requires various skills, and if you do not possess them, you are likely to pick them up, given enough time. One of the key areas is control of the ball and mental and physical endurance. It is a game where you cannot lose focus for a second because it could cost you a point. It consists of tactical skills and the ability to anticipate your opponent’s moves.
The Benefits Of Playing Squash
There are plenty of benefits found in playing squash, especially on a regular basis. You burn calories incredibly fast, your metabolism is fired up, and your body works to transform any unwanted weight into energy. Your agility will improve, and so will your hand-eye coordination, among other things.
Squash Is A Fun Sport To Get Into
The game of squash, especially when played recreationally, is fun and enjoyable. However, the two players will run around the entire court; and are on the same side of the court as opposed to tennis, for example. This means you can have laughs and banter between you as you play or during the resetting and getting ready to serve the ball.
You Can Play Squash Year Round
Unlike other racket sports and sports in general, squash is played indoors, which means that regardless of the weather or how cold the climate may be where you live, squash is always on the cards. This means there are no excuses not to go and exercise as there are with some other sports such as cycling and road running (although some will still tackle the elements).
Squash Allow You To Get Fit In A Short Duration
Some people take their squash very seriously, and losing is not in their vocabulary. This fast-paced game has players constantly wanting to better their opponents and play just the right shots. Whether you play for leisure or compete in tournaments, the game can quickly get somewhat competitive.
And because squash is so intense, especially when the games begin to get heated, you will burn far more calories in as little as 30 minutes than in any other sport. Additionally, you are getting a total body workout from squash, and your heart rate increases drastically during play, mainly if you are playing a serious game.
This will cause your body to be pushed beyond its anaerobic threshold, which sits at 75% of your maximum heart rate. Once you break past this point, and if you are doing so for an extended period, your body will require additional energy, and thus you will burn fat more rapidly.
But why is it such a demanding sport, and what makes it stand out in terms of getting fit and losing weight? The reason is that the cardiovascular workout is so intense for extended times that it forces you to push beyond your limits. There is a lot of running, stopping, altering direction, bending, and expending energy that makes it stand out from other sports.
Squash Improves Your Coordination, Speed, Flexibility, And Agility
Squash includes a vast number of explosive movements, and there is a lot of multidirectional sprinting involved. Once reaching the point where you need to make contact with the ball, you have to suddenly stop and position yourself in a way that will ultimately improve your coordination and overall balance.
Not only this, but your hand-eye coordination will improve as well as it is a sport where the ball bounces and moves in various directions and must be hit in varying manners. This means that you have to truly focus on what you are doing, how you are positioning your racket, and getting ready to strike the ball. With age, this skill declines, and thus squash can aid older people in maintaining this.
Regarding flexibility, if done for as little as four hours per week, squash training will help you improve on this aspect of your physiology. You will need to stretch out before entering the court to start playing, and the constant running, stopping, and changing of direction aids in fostering flexibility. On top of this, players often have to lunge for the ball, which is also a key component.
Squash Aids In Developing Strength
We must point out that if a squash ball does not remain properly warmed, it will start to lose its bounce. Therefore, frequent and hard strikes are needed to ensure that it stays at a playable temperature. Ultimately, this means that with time, you will begin to hit the ball harder as you grow in strength from constant practice.
The constant swinging of the racket will help you develop strong arm muscles and the constant running around is exceptionally good for strengthening one’s legs. Additionally, the rotation of the torso when you swing through helps develop your abdominal muscles.
Squash Helps To Lower Stress Levels And Improves Mental Health
Our brain releases endorphins that ultimately make us feel better, happier, and more relaxed when we exercise. What is excellent about squash is that it is also a game where focus is critical. So your attention is constantly on the present moment, and you do not have the time to think about your general life concerns (you will likely be too busy trying to control your breathing).
Squash is also a mental game, much like a chess match, every move has a counter-attack, and you must be strategic with how you play the ball. This gets your mind occupied with the game and also aids you in not having to dwell on issues that must be left off the court.
You also get a chance to interact with people in a fun and exciting environment, whereas much of your other time may be spent with coworkers and dealing with work and life commitments. Finally, as you get better, your confidence will improve, and this helps to make for a sounder mind.
Squash Is Ideal For All Ages
One wonderful thing about squash is that almost any aged individual can get on the court and play the game. It is not the type of sport restricted to those in their 20s and 30s. Children can start playing from an early age and develop as they get older; it might be wise to have your child train with a qualified coach to grow in the sport more efficiently.
And when it comes to getting older, squash is a great way to stay in shape; some people play well into their 60s and even 70s and would possibly even put some younger individuals to shame. Additionally, you are never too old to take up squash; if you have knee and ankle problems and are concerned about injury, consult your doctor and find the right trainer and footwear.
Squash Accommodates All Body Types
There are some sports where body type comes into play, and you are immensely limited and unlikely to have much success unless you fall into a particular category. Basketball, for example, is a sport where height is an immense advantage. Weightlifting is something that people with bigger builds tend to be better at, but squash is one size fits all.
Also, if you are overweight, squash can be your go-to sport and will help you shed those extra pounds with ease. Incredibly lean people may well also benefit from squash as their strength will increase over time, and they will develop muscles that they otherwise may not have grown.
What Do You Need To Start Playing Squash?
So you are now convinced that squash is well worth trying and hopefully sticking to, especially after you start to see how fit, agile, and elated you become from playing this spectacular sport. But where do you begin? And what is needed to start your squash journey? Below we have detailed what is required to get you onto the court and playing stellar games in no time.
- Correct Footwear: Many would think that the racket is the first thing you need to look at as it is the instrument you use to hit the ball, but having non-scuffing, proper squash shoes that grip nicely on the floor as well as support your feet and ankles is paramount.
- A Racket: This one is a no-brainer, and you can either opt to buy a racket, or if you are still dipping your toes into the waters, most squash centers offer the option of hiring rackets to play with.
- Squash balls: There are four primary types of balls, denoted by the colored dots on them. Blue is intended for absolute beginners and juniors; red will suit people who are already quite active and may well have already played other racket sports; single-dot yellow balls are meant for advanced players, and double yellow-dot balls are what the professionals use in competitions.
- A squash court: Some gyms offer squash court facilities, while other places are squash centers, and that is what they specialize in. You can typically expect to pay a membership fee and then $15-$30 for an hour on the court. Some places may make provision for walk-ins as well.
Squash is not a walk in the park; it is a high-intensity and strenuous sport that takes time to get good at but is easy enough to learn. Will you get an excellent workout? Undoubtedly! And you will reap incredible benefits from this sport that is tailored to suit any person of almost any age. Start at a comfortable level and work at your own pace. And remember to have fun on the court.