What to Read Next

The health benefits of squash

Fiona Bugler
Yahoo Lifestyle
4 November 2011

Squash may have earned a reputation as the sport of choice for businessmen in the 1980s, but in fact it is now played in more than 185 countries, on nearly 50,000 courts.

It’s World Squash Day and this weekend events are happening at clubs across the country, to try to encourage women to take up the sport.

To celebrate, personal trainer and fitness journalist Fiona Bugler is taking a look at the sport’s benefits - it’s a superb way to get fit, stay healthy, have some fun and de-stress.

Getting started
Squash clubs, coaches, and courts can be found all over the country. You will need an opponent – but if you haven’t got one, most clubs will be able to arrange partners or games for you.

To learn the rules of the game, visit the World Squash Federation website, where you’ll find comprehensive guidelines.

Equipment-wise, “all you need to get started are a racquet, a ball (a standard squash ball approved for competitive play is the Dunlop Pro Double Yellow Dot ball), indoor non-marking shoes with the support on the ankle, and eyeguards,” says Cliff Wenn, a coach with over 25 years experience.

A good basic level of fitness will help. If you’re unconditioned, it doesn’t rule you out, but you should look for an evenly-matched partner to play against and take care not to overexert or strain yourself.

[Useful: 10 tips for new squash players]

Why it’s great
Squash was voted number one by US business magazine Forbes in its round-up of the top ten health sports, as it scored well across the fitness and health board. It works the heart and lungs, burns fat, boosts strength, develops flexibility, and improves balance and core strength.

Fat burning
“Expect to burn around 517 calories in a 30-minute game,” says Cliff.

When you play squash you use major muscle groups in both the upper and lower body, which allows you to pump lots of oxygenated blood around - and get your heart working up to 80 to 85 per cent of max. But as you get absorbed in the game, chances are you won’t notice how hard you’re working.

A game can last anything between six minutes to two and a half hours - and a good squash player can extend a single rally to 60 seconds. It’s calorie-burning, high-intensity interval training in short bursts, which research shows is the most effective way to burn fat.

Strength and endurance

Big leg movements are needed to reach the ball. Strength in the core and the upper body is needed to drive the ball hard. Combined, these will help achieve an overall lean and toned look.


Squash forces you to move out of your normal range of movement. Of course, playing squash will improve your flexibility and agility but most squash players need to work on this.
You can make it easier for yourself by combining squash with regular yoga, and making stretching a daily practice.

Mental health

Like any ball game, squash will help with your hand eye coordination and concentration – and as there’s a wall to hit against, it arguably needs a little less skill than other ball games.

It’s no coincidence that squash has long been the choice of the stressed-out businessman – what better way to get angst out of your system than hit a ball hard and get distracted by a good game.

10-minute yoga tone-up

Ultimate dumbbell moves

The best low-intensity workouts that burn calories

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Powerful Tactical Flashlight Flying Off Shelves!

This new tactical flashlight was just released to the public and is flying off shelves in the United States. Limited supplies left, act quick!

Kid sleep troubles email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track to learn how to handle kids who won’t go to sleep or won’t stay in bed.

Reconnect With Your High School Friends

Classmates® has the largest directory of high school class lists. Remember the good times and reconnect to create new memories.

“It works. Officers were at my home in minutes."

Built by the leading engineers in the country with revolutionary wireless technology... Engineered to make your home feel like a fortress...

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Dealing With Pregnancy is Hard Enough. Getting Heartburn While Pregnant is a Pain. Learn What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy.

Why You Should Pay Attention to Free Sample Sites

Sign up now for freebies so good you will feel guilty not paying for them! No credit card or purchase necessary.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Join Disney Movie Club Today

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

10 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.