You’ve likely seen individuals emerge from the squash court with bruises on their arms and legs, but they seem to be having a good time. About 20 million people in the world play squash on a semi-regular basis. What is it about that sport that makes it so enticing? And is it something you should start playing?
How to Play Squash
Chances are, you’ve seen people play squash and have a vague familiarity with the sport, but if you’ve never played before, you don’t really know how it works. Squash is a racquet sport for two or four players. The players bounce a hollow rubber ball against the walls of a closed-in court and earn points.
As the players vie to hit the ball, the goal is to keep it in bounds and in play at all times. The ball must bounce twice before it’s hit. If a ball goes out of bounds or it’s hit before it’s bounced twice, the other team gains a point. There are a few other ways to earn points, which you will learn as you play the game.
The rules are simple, but it takes proper equipment, speed, and dexterity to reign champion. You might be surprised at how difficult it is to train your body to anticipate the ball and best your opponents.
The Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Squash
Because of the skill required to play squash and the social setting in which it takes place, there are surprising health benefits to playing the sport. As you play, you might begin to see the following improvements:
To begin with, squash gets the blood pumping throughout the body, raising your heart rate to peak levels and whipping your body into shape. Additionally, there’s research indicating that intense racquet sports like squash lower a person’s blood pressure, prevent blood clots, and reduce the risk of developing heart complications.
There will be significant reaching and bending as you position your body to hit the ball and avoid being hit. With time, you’ll find that your muscles have stretched in a good way to make these movements easier, and you’ll enjoy greater flexibility in other activities as well.
Targeted Muscle Strength
With any sport, you’ll gain muscle strength from repeated play. Squash is no different, and it specifically targets muscles in your back and arms. Your core muscles will also become stronger, contributing to a leaner body and increased stamina.
Squash players must also perform short sprints and fast joint movements. This can strengthen the muscles around the joints, building lean muscle mass and reducing your risk for sprains.
One of the first things you’ll notice about squash is the need for your racquet to be in the right place at the right time. This is surprisingly difficult! It will take focus and training to improve your hand-eye coordination, but as you do so, you’ll find yourself keeping up with the ball on the squash court as well as reducing clumsiness in your personal life.
This kind of focus will also boost concentration skills, which will transfer to your school, work, or personal life to help you balance tasks and improve productivity.
Uplifting Social Interaction
Squash is a one-on-one or two-on-two sport that can’t be played alone. Therefore, you’ll enjoy social interaction as you play. This kind of interaction is the best because you’re releasing stress and building antioxidants in your body, improving your mood and enhancing relationships as you relay with other players.
Squash can be challenging at first, but as you continue practicing, you’ll pick up the sport quickly. The low learning curve is part of the reason it’s so popular. Every time you hit the ball and score a point, your self-confidence will increase.
Perhaps the best mental health benefit of all is stress relief. With more than half of Americans stating that they’re stressed daily, this is likely very appealing to you. Squash gets your heart rate up, allowing the cortisol hormone to melt away while adrenaline and serotonin levels increase.
Plus, it’s a lot of fun, and you can easily forget your worries and emerge from the court feeling better about both your day and your overall health.
This content is sponsored by Larry Alton.
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