Why I picked up playing Squash Now?

Why I picked up playing Squash Now?

The lockdown is over!

Over the lockdown, I was only doing my regular walks and diet control. This helped me reduce my weight and kept me fit physically and mentally. The result was that I reduced over 15 kilos in weight. However, I needed a full body workout and had to pick up a sport. I am not a gym person and needed to add some workouts for my upper body and endurance. Hence some racket sport would be a great addition. In the past, I had played table tennis in school and college at competitive level. Later, in college I played tennis till I gave up in 2011.

After 10 years, I wanted to take up a racket sport that is easy on my age and is all weather. The choice zeroed down to squash.

Research from Sports and Medicine Favouring Squash

According to Forbes Magazine, squash was rated as the  healthiest sports in the World. Forbes consulted with personal trainers, coaches and exercise physiologists, 10 sports were listed as being the ‘healthiest’ in terms of cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, calories burned in 30 minutes, injury risk. Squash took first place!

According to Forbes, 30 minutes spent on the squash court gives you ‘an impressive cardio respiratory workout.’ Constant running and rallies build endurance and muscular strength in your lower body, and squash can even improve flexibility in your core and back, thanks to the twists, lunges and turns necessary to keep the ball on the go.

If you’re wondering what makes squash so healthy, here are the results from the Forbes survey:

Forbes Survey

Here is more, Recently the British Journal of Sports Medicine underwent a study which examined information on more than 80,000 adults across England and Scotland who took part in national health surveys between 1994 and 2008. The study found that risk of death from any cause was 47% lower among those who played racket sports. The study suggested that regularly playing squash could help stave off death the longest.

Scientists have narrowed down the sports and types of exercise that are linked to significantly lower odds of dying before those who do not do those activities. The research concluded that racket sports, swimming, aerobics and cycling seem to be the best for prolonging life, in that order.

Meanwhile, those who partake in racket sports such as squash, also have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as strokes. After taking into account influential factors, the authors of the paper identified which sport or exercise seemed to be the most beneficial.

Compared with the participants who said they had not done a given sport, they found that risk of death from any cause was 47% lower among those who played racket sports; 28% lower among swimmers; 27% lower among those who took part in aerobics classes; and 15% lower among cyclists. No such associations were seen for runners or joggers and those who played football or rugby. When the researchers looked at the risk of death from heart disease and stroke, they found that playing racket sports was associated with a 56% lower risk, swimmers had a 41% lower risk and aerobics participants had a 36% lower risk compared with those who did not participate in these sports.

The researchers did find a 43% reduced risk of death from all causes and a 45% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease among runners and joggers when compared with those who did not run or jog, but this advantage was not deemed significant when influential factors were taken into account. They cautioned that the impact of running and jogging might have been underestimated.

The study suggests that squash is ultimately the best sport to play to ensure a long life.

About Squash

Squash is played in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball. It is played between two i.e, singles and four i.e, doubles players. The game was first played in 1930 at Harrow School in London, England. The game is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and mostly played in the gyms. It’s not an Olympic sport yet but it features in Commonwealth games and Asian games since 1998.

Gregory Gaultier, Mohamed El Shorbagy, Ali Farag, Nour El Sherbini, Raneem El Weleily are leading the point table at the moment. Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal Karthik, Saurav Ghoshal and Ritwik Bhattacharya have made India proud in the sport.

Getting Started

Getting started on squash costs as low as ₹5,000. Please use the basic gear available on Decathlon, India website or visit their store. Search | Squash (decathlon.in)

What's in my squash bag?
What’s in my squash bag?

# Gear Make Remarks
1 Squash Racket Prince Thunder Sub Zero 200 – 175 grams Poor packing, bent while shipment and play, do not buy
2 Squash Racket Perfly SR 135 Latest product. Pro range. Loved it.  
3 Squash Ball Prince Rebel High quality Pro
4 Shoes Plaeto Unisex Squash Sneakers Loved it. Made in India and endorsed by Rahul Dravid
5 Short and T-Shirt Sweat Free from Reliance Trends and Decathlon Good fit
6 Bag Aurion Squash Zipper Kit Bag Great price and value
My Squash Starter Kit

I made the mistake of ordering Prince rackets on Amazon. The product is bad as the grip needs to be replaced. Also the Amazon packing and handling is poor. The rackets arrived damaged.  

Other Benefits of taking up Squash:

Even at this age

Squash as a game is age-friendly. At 50+, I was able to pick up the game in the first session. The rest is YouTube videos to brush up the 101 and techniques.

Easy to pick up

As I played tennis, squash was really easy to pick up and lean. I can play solo and brush up on my strokes and on court movement alone with a coach to guide me.

Improved cardiovascular fitness

As per my watch, my peak cardiovascular activity at the end of 45 minutes of constant play was 175 bpm. This was 30-35 bpm higher than my usual walk after 45 minutes.

Improved hand-eye coordination

One of the concerns that I had was, Will I be able to see the squash ball which is coming to me at high speed? Need less to say, I was able to affirm that I had not lost my hand-eye co-ordination even after taking up a racket sport after 12 years. I was able to hit the ball from the first shot.

I can play solo

I am able to play the game solo and do not need a team to be accumulated to play the game unlike in racket sport, you need a duo. Just start hitting the ball against the wall!

Increase strength

After a couple of days of playing squash, I see my upper body strength improving

Improved posture

Sitting in front of your laptop, leads to a couching posture. After a few days of playing squash, I could feel my shoulders and back straightening up to a better posture

Learn to run and move backwards

If you can run backwards, your brain is still sharp and focussed. Squash gets you moving forward and backward on court to hit the ball hard enough. So its like a brain tonic for me!

Can play it even during rains of Mumbai

Most of the outdoor sports become seasonal in nature and cannot be played all round the year. Not in the case of squash. All you need is a wall to hit the ball against!

Health benefits

While here are some of the other health benefits of playing squash. Stress reduction, strengthening muscles and joints, with proper elbow and knee guards it is not injury prone, improves mental strength, determination and routine

And lastly, I am having fun!