Though it’s not as popular in the US, squash is played around the world. But will playing squash keep you fit?
Every sport has its benefits, and squash is no exception. It comes with its own set of pros that make it a great game for a workout.
Squash is an incredible cardiovascular exercise that improves your heart strength, helps develop overall fitness because it targets some of the major muscle groups, and has a positive effect on mental health. It also helps improve your general coordinative and strategic abilities.
Squash is a great game for health purposes, and it has the benefit of being a social and fun game as well.
We looked into the different aspects of squash and how playing would affect our bodies, as well as asking experts for their opinions.
Health Benefits of Squash
If you had any doubts about whether or not squash is good for fitness, just know that it’s considered the healthiest sport you can play.
But what makes it so healthy?
Squash is a physically intensive game. You have to run, jump and dive to get the ball, so your heart and lungs are working on overdrive. Intense games will definitely keep your heart rate up, but even a lighter game does the job pretty well. When your heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body, the muscles get stronger.
This means that if you keep playing squash, over time, your heart will have to work less to get the same amount of blood pumped through the body. This is how your stamina and endurance also increases over time.
Cardio exercises don’t just give you stamina, but also keep from the risk of developing heart problems.
Targets Major Muscles
Again, since you are doing quite a lot on the squash court, your entire body is at work. Your arms get a good workout as they swing for the ball. This movement doesn’t just affect your arms, but also the muscles around your hand and wrist, as well as your back.
You also need to break out into short sprints to reach the ball, which gives your legs a workout as well. Reaching out for the ball without falling over gives your core muscles a good exercise.
Over time, as these muscles are put to work more and more often, they become stronger and just like your heart, will need to do less to get more done.
Not to mention, muscles becoming stronger also means that your balance and flexibility improves as well.
Constant movement because of all that running around also means that your joints and ligaments have to stretch out, which results in good elasticity and improved blood flow. Not only does this help you move around better, it also improves your flexibility.
Mental health benefits are always tied in with physical exercise. When you work out, your body releases dopamine and endorphins that make you happy. This means that if you’re mad about something that happened during the day, or simply stressed, a game of squash can help get rid of some of those feelings.
In fact, squash also needs you to put in force to send the ball back against the wall, and this becomes a good outlet for negative energy. It works the same way as a punching bag, except it also comes with all these other benefits.
Squash also helps with improving confidence. Since it involves a lot of hard work, scoring points is tricky, and you’re likely to come out of a game feeling great about yourself - even if you lost the overall game. For regular players, their squash abilities are a boost in self-esteem.
Similar to mental health, which is mostly about mood, squash is also good for your cognitive abilities.
When you first start off as a player, you’re more likely to be putting in more effort on the physical aspect of the game than on the strategizing. This is because your body is still trying to keep up with the work that it has to do.
However, as you play more and more, your body’s condition starts to align with the game’s requirements, and a lot of movements even become muscle memory. As a result, you can now focus on the strategy part of the game.
From knowing how to catch your breath in between sudden movements, getting the ball, and trying to make your opponent miss it, you’re more likely to become more alert and aware of your surroundings.
You also have to remain concentrated on the ball at all times. Losing this concentration could mean losing the game, and this concentration also ensures mental and visual benefits.
Squash is one of those games that will benefit you in every way, no matter how hard or light you play. As a squash player, you’re bound to see yourself become fit as time passes.
About THE AUTHOR
Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.Read More About Michael Stevens