Squash is a popular indoor racket game known for grueling attacks and high-speed balls. Although squash isn’t an Olympic game, it is far underrated in terms of the health benefits it offers. So now, you might be wondering if squash is a HIIT exercise?
Squash is not only a HIIT exercise, but Men’s Journal has also dubbed it the fittest sport on earth. You can easily burn as many as 500 calories within half an hour’s intense squash, and your heart rate will quickly jump to the 190s. Squash involves sprints, lunges, and hang eye coordination.
Many people want to play squash to get fit. But experts warn that you should have some fitness level before playing squash, as the game is physically very demanding. In this article, we will discuss how squash is a HIIT exercise and what the health benefits of squash are. Furthermore, we will explore what you can do in preparation for a squash game.
Is Squash A HIIT Exercise?
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) aims to improve your fitness and agility. People often do HIIT training in the gym to lose weight, but you don’t necessarily need a gym membership to get some excellent HIIT training.
Squash is a perfect HIIT exercise, as your heart rate constantly fluctuates. These heart rate fluctuations cause you to burn fat and improve your cardiovascular endurance, thereby getting fitter. People mostly do HIIT exercises in the gym or outside, where they sprint short distances followed by a short break before sprinting again.
In the gym, a HIIT exercise is often some cardio, such as running or spinning, combined with functional exercises, such as jump lunges, burpees, or mountain climbers. Studies have shown significant advantages of HIIT exercise to improve your cardiovascular and overall fitness.
However, you might now be wondering how squash is considered a HIIT exercise? New research was conducted on pro-squash athletes to determine how much exercise you get while playing squash, and the statistic was nothing short of amazing.
In this study, the squash players’ heart rates often reached between 190 and 199 beats per minute, with an average of 171 beats per minute. Because 170 beats per minute is considered strenuous for an average person in their 20s, this is a remarkably high beat per minute count. The higher your average heart rate, the more your body works during an exercise.
Furthermore, this study counted the number of steps, lunges, and strikes each player took during a 52-minute match. When playing an intense game of squash, you can expect to cover 1.5 miles of short-distance running, 100 lunges, and to strike the squash ball 500 times.
We can conclude that squash is an extremely high-intensity training from the statistics. Furthermore, squash is undoubtedly considered a HIIT exercise because you run short distances, followed by sudden stops and changing directions.
Although regular players won’t have the same statistics as the professional squash athletes mentioned in the study, their statistics prove that squash is an excellent form of HIIT training and will benefit anyone who plays it seriously or for fun.
Now that we have determined why squash is considered a HIIT exercise, you might still wonder how HIIT exercises are beneficial for you.
The Benefits Of Squash As A HIIT Exercise
We have already mentioned some advantages of HIIT exercises, such as improved overall fitness. However, there are many more benefits of doing HIIT exercises and more benefits of playing squash. Therefore, we will now look at the specific advantages of playing squash as a form of HIIT exercise.
- Squash helps improve your cardiovascular fitness. As we have mentioned before, squash is an excellent exercise for improving heart health. Cardiovascular fitness can help prevent heart conditions, strokes, and other illnesses related to poor health and lack of fitness.
- Squash helps improve your flexibility. Because you need to sprint, stop, and change direction during squash, it helps improve your flexibility, mobility, and joint health.
- Squash improves your hand-eye coordination. In addition to running around and doing leaps and lunges to reach the ball, squash also helps with your hand-eye coordination as your aim is to hit the ball above the line on the wall while playing.
- Squash and HIIT exercises are excellent for stress relief. When playing squash, you must always focus on the game and the ball. This helps you forget about everything else in is a great way to relieve some stress positively. You will also find that you sleep better after vigorous exercises, such as squash.
- Squash helps with weight management, strength, and fitness. Although your goal when playing squash shouldn’t be to lose weight, squash assists in weight loss. In addition, the lunges and sprints you do while playing squash helps to improve your fitness and overall strength.
As you can see, playing squash offers several health benefits. Squash is not only beneficial for your physical health but will help to improve your mood, psychological health, and sleep as well. So, what can you do to prepare for an intense exercise, such as squash?
How To Prepare For Squash
Because squash is such a high-intensity exercise, there is a chance of getting injured while playing. Therefore, to prevent injuries, you should prepare yourself before playing squash. The first thing you must do in preparation for squash is get the Okay from your doctor to play squash.
Suppose you are over 40, exceptionally unfit, or have a previous injury. In that case, you should also consult a doctor and ask them if it is safe for you to play squash. As squash is such a demanding sport, you should have some fitness level before playing.
In addition, squash is strenuous on your knees, ankles, and other joints. Therefore, consult your doctor before playing squash if you have a previous injury.
The second thing you can do to prepare for squash is dress appropriately. You need freedom of movement and lightweight clothes to keep you comfortable and dry while playing squash. The most important thing regarding your squash attire is the shoes. Purchase squash or indoor court shoes that have sufficient grip and ankle support for playing squash.
Ensure you are adequately hydrated before playing squash. You will sweat a lot, and your body will need more water to function properly and keep you performing well. Therefore, be sure to drink enough water before, during, and after playing squash to prevent dehydration, headaches, and muscle cramps.
Finally, you must stretch and warm up before playing squash. The rapid movements while playing squash can lead to sprains or joint injuries. Therefore, be sure to warm up your muscles thoroughly before playing. Doing some cool-down exercises will also help prevent muscle stiffness.
Based on recently conducted studies, squash is undoubtedly a form of HIIT exercise. Squash involves sprinting, lunging, striking, and changing direction, and your heartbeat will easily stay above 170 beats per minute while playing squash.
HIIT exercises like squash have various health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, and stress relief. Always warm-up before playing squash and ensure you drink enough water to prevent dehydration while playing squash. Squash is a fun sport that all can enjoy, and you can expect a tiring workout when playing squash.