This sport may not be at the top of people's minds when thinking about being active, but it really should be!
In fact if you only have time for one sport then perhaps you should consider this fun and ancient racket sport and here’s why…
But first let’s clear up a couple of points:
A) It’s not bad it’s good! The game was named Badminton after the country estate of the Duke of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, England, where it was first played in about 1873.
B) Racket or Racquet? Both spellings are correct but racket is the standard spelling in the UK, while racquet can be used as an alternative but only for certain sports such as racquetball, squash or Badminton.
1) Badminton can reduce or eliminate your risk for many health problems
High blood pressure, diabetes and obesity can all be improved by playing Badminton simply because of its fat-burning and metabolism boosting qualities. Ok yes, badminton IS great for weight loss but weightloss improves all the above, so while we said staying fit and losing weight isn’t the only benefit; it is a natural added bonus of playing a sport like Badminton, and the fact you reduce your risk of diseases which can potentially kill you has to be an even better benefit, right?
2) Badminton improves heart health and function
High levels of cholesterol decrease the size of your blood vessels which could lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Playing Badminton strengthens the muscles of the heart by unclogging blocked walls leading to a better blood flow. People with pre-existing heart conditions can benefit from playing Badminton (ensure you take proper medical advice).
3) Badminton increases bone density
As you age bone density decreases, while some diseases also cause this to happen. The good news is that impact can help improve bone density, and while playing badminton the body will experience a certain amount of impact – through the hands, wrists and arms when hitting the shuttlecock and through the feet, ankles legs and spine when jumping around.
Impact helps the growth of the cells which form bones, making Badminton a great sport for older people and those looking to strengthen their bones and prevent fractures – it is lower impact that squash and tennis so it’s a great compromise for those unable to play faster, more high impact sports.
4) Badminton increases concentration and reflex action
There is no doubt that a sport such as Badminton improves the concentration of the player. Unlike a well-rehearsed gym session or a swim which can almost be done on autopilot (not a negative thing at times), when playing Badminton you have to have your wits about you at all times! It is competitive and can be fast-paced, while requiring you to react to an opponent - which increases the speed your brain reacts and improves the reflexes. Intelligence is also improved as players must think ahead and about how to deceive their opponent.
5) Badminton improves muscle strength and flexibility
The more you move, the more flexible you become and when you play Badminton, moving fast and swinging the racket quickly is essential.
This improves flexibility and also help players gain muscle strength and improve endurance. Playing Badminton will naturally improve your agility without you even noticing, as you move from spot to spot to ensure you return the shuttlecock!
6) Badminton improves metabolic rate
Ok, so playing Badminton will help you get and fit and lose weight! As you move in short, sharp boosts you’ll quickly raise your heart rate which will increase your metabolism. Having a good metabolism will help you maintain your physique and stay fit. Playing badminton also improve the cardiopulmonary function (the interrelationship between the workings of the heart and lungs) which means you will have a better level of fitness. Finally, you will sweat and sweating helps remove toxins from your body supporting a high metabolic rate.
But there is more…
Badminton has loads of other benefits too; as we mentioned above – while it is fast at an elite level, it can be played slower than most other racket sports, making it a great sport for children, beginners, those with disabilities, older people and those with lower level of fitness.
You can play at any level and speed you like making it super adaptable – and you will improve and get better and quicker without even noticing!
One of our favourite things about Badminton however is how social it is! You can play with friends and family, or attend an open session and meet and play with new people – at Freedom Leisure we offer Badminton England’s much-loved ‘No Strings’ sessions, which are great for both beginners and those who have played before, and benefit from a coach to help people learn the rules and improve.
I know from coaching these sessions that after just 60 minutes on a Badminton court you will feel a hundred times better and happier! It’s fun and a great way to socialise, de-stress, keep fit, compete and to challenge yourself, while benefiting your health in so many ways! It's a fact that people state "not enough time" as one of the main reasons for not exercising, and this is why Badminton is the answer - just a game or two a week will deliver huge benefits. Badminton is a sport which gives a lot of bang for its buck!Freedom Leisure Badminton Coordinator, Jackie Wood
At Freedom Leisure we have 47 centres across the UK with sports courts available for booking for Badminton, plus 25 centres offering ‘No Strings’ Badminton sessions. Which are great for begiiners or those who want to play but have noone to play with - or are looking to make it a more social affair and we welcome everyone to these sessions.
So start calling the shots on your health and fitness NOW!