You don’t need to be a professional badminton player to reap the health benefits of badminton on a regular basis. Badminton health benefits are both physical and mental. It’s a well-rounded addition to anyone’s self-care plan. Turning to badminton for health reasons isn’t just about physical benefits. The social and mental benefits of badminton are an added bonus that makes picking up a racket a potentially life-changing experience.
Let’s layout 15 health benefits of playing badminton that will make you want to schedule some court time at the nearest gym A.S.A.P
1. Increase Muscle Tone with Regular Badminton Play
Playing badminton even 2-3 times a week can significantly increase muscle tone. Badminton is a sport that requires the use of muscle groups that your everyday exercise regimen may not touch on. There is a kinetic chain of action as players tend to await the shuttle in a slightly squatted position, drive upwards to return the shuttle, and swing the racket forward. Players restart that kinetic chain the moment their feet hit the ground. Feet, calves, and quadriceps are working as a player repositions themselves on the court. Thighs, glutes, and core muscles work to drive a player upward on their way to return a serve or smash. Swinging the racket repeatedly tones the muscles of the chest, shoulder, biceps, and back. Every major muscle group is targeted through play.
2. Build Stamina and Endurance
Badminton is a fast-paced game – the fastest racket sport in the world to be exact. Smashes sail over the net at 200 miles an hour. It requires constant movement to keep up a long rally without tiring, even in a recreational game. Playing badminton every day or even three times a week will steadily build your body’s endurance during aerobic activity. This endurance and stamina translate into other areas of your life, such as running, gym workouts, or cardio fitness.
3. Improve Cardiovascular Health
Elevated levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) are associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. A 2019 study (published in 2020) finds that regular badminton play showed increased HDL-C levels in participants – significantly higher than participants who other forms of aerobic exercise. So what does this mean? In short, playing badminton can be good for your heart health and cholesterol levels!
4. Badminton Benefits Weight Loss
One strategy for weight loss is to create a calorie deficit. This means burning more calories than you consume in a day. Badminton exercise benefits weight loss in doing just that!
Long rallies can be a truly dynamic calorie burner. Competitive badminton players can burn upwards of 600+ calories in just an hour of play. This calorie burn can translate to a metabolism boost and weight loss. Get ready to admire that badminton body!
Calorie burning depends largely on your body weight and the intensity of your activity. If you’d like to calculate about how many calories you can burn in just an hour of badminton play, check out this calorie-burn estimation calculator provided by Garnet Health Medical Center.
5. Improve Flexibility with Badminton
Lunges and dives become a regular occurrence on a badminton court. Being able to stretch those extra inches to reach the shuttle can keep you in a rally longer to wear down your opponent. Repeated stretching activities (like the reach to hit an overhead shot) improve your overall flexibility.
6. Sharpen Your Reflexes
Unlike tennis, the shuttlecock is not allowed to ‘bounce’ once on the court before being returned by an opponent. There are no extra seconds to recalculate your position or your return shot. The shuttle must be returned immediately when it enters your court. Because of this quick back and forth action, your reflexes need to be sharp. Continuing to participate in badminton rallies sharpens reflexes!
7. Temporary Stress Relief
Finding distractions from the outside stressors of your life (work problems, relationship issues, and financial woes) can be difficult. Badminton requires constant mental presence and concentration. It allows you to temporarily push worries out of your mind to concentrate on the game. Endorphins are the brains “feel-good” transmitters. Exercise increases endorphins which can not only help with stress and anxiety relief but could benefit your sleep!
8. Increase Self Esteem
The importance of badminton isn’t limited to physical and psychological areas. Emotional well-being, including self-esteem, can be directly impacted when you choose to pick up a new hobby. Confidence (not to be confused with arrogance) is an attractive quality in any person. Seeing your own personal skill growth in the sport, as well as the “badminton body” in the mirror can do great things for your self-esteem.
9. Badminton Is Positively Linked to Self-Control and Cognitive Function
A study published in 2019 compared the effects of running versus badminton on a person’s cognitive function. The study focused specifically on inhibitory function, which is largely linked to impulse control. Researchers found that a single bout of badminton (which they considered a complex exercise) had a greater benefit to inhibitory function than a single bout of running (which they considered a simple exercise). Does this mean playing badminton could stop you from impulsively eating that piece of chocolate cake during your diet? Could badminton stop you from impulsively purchasing that unnecessary amazon item? The jury is still out on that, but what is clear is that the mental benefits of badminton are conclusively backed by science.
10. Social Health
Mental health experts define social health as one’s ability to form satisfying interpersonal relationships with others. Joining a local badminton club will make you part of something bigger than yourself. You’ll form relationships with other frequenters and find happiness in that regular social engagement. Worried about being cold-shouldered? The badminton community, even at a professional level, is welcoming. The United States especially seeks to recruit more players at a recreational level – in hopes of discovering professional talent. Most badminton clubs will offer a warm welcome, and you’ll find yourself part of a brand new social circle of like-minded individuals.
11. Improve Bone Density and Decrease the Risk of Osteoporosis
Your bones are living tissue and respond to forces enacted upon them over time. Your skeleton builds bone and becomes denser with regular exercise coupled with good nutrition. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons lays out two of the best types of exercise for bone health: weight-bearing exercise and strength training exercise. They’ve also classified badminton as a weight-bearing exercise, making it a good choice to maintain bone density and strength.
12. Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Research shows that individuals diagnosed with prediabetes can lower their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy diet and introducing physical activity into their lifestyle. In a position statement, the ADA surmises that 150 minutes of structured physical activity per week is a lifestyle change that can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes in individuals who are at risk. The risk of type 2 diabetes also increases with body weight, and badminton exercise benefits weight loss when participation is regular.
13. Develop Your Agility Through Badminton
Most badminton training regimens will also include agility training. It’s a skill that’s necessary for success on the court. Agility comes with practice, and between actual gameplay and footwork training, your agility skills will improve over time. Think about the need to change directions on at a moment’s notice without tripping over your own feet. That agility can translate into coordination in other sports as well as everyday life.
14. Decrease Your Risk of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Hypertension (high blood pressure) increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and dementia, among other things. The Mayo Clinic lists a lack of physical activity, obesity, and stress as three of many risk factors for high blood pressure. Badminton is linked positively to all three of those risk factors. It’s fair to assume that regular badminton play, coupled with proper nutrition and a doctor’s care could decrease your risk of developing hypertension.
15. Increase Your Daily Energy Level
This is a given after taking into consideration the physical and mental benefits of badminton. Getting better sleep, losing weight, increasing self-esteem and decreasing stress levels are going to give you higher energy levels during the day. This translates into being a more productive member if your work team and household.
While this blog post discusses general health-related information, it cannot be used in place of a doctor’s care. Be sure to check with your primary care physician before introducing any strenuous physical activity to your routine, and be sure you’re healthy enough for the level of exercise that you choose.
So why play badminton? The health benefits of badminton are not limited to the body. There are also health benefits for the mind and the spirit. While it isn’t a cure-all by any means, badminton offers a set of well-rounded gains. If you believe in the importance of badminton, be sure to check out some of my training videos on YouTube and Instagram to up your game!