19 April 2019

Bored of the gym? Why badminton could be the answer

April 13, 2010

On the eve of the European Badminton Championships we talk to Great Britain international Heather Olver talks to Sportsister about why she thinks badminton is a great choice if you are looking for a new sport to try.

badmintonBoredom is a huge factor in why people don’t stick to an exercise routine, so keeping things varied, combining it with seeing friends and adding a competitive element can all help to avoid this. Why not start a fun new fitness regime that will last: badminton.

It is an incredibly energetic sport that tests all types of fitness components, namely endurance, speed, agility, strength, flexibility, core strength and power. It is a good workout for your cardiovascular system; with your heart rate working at around 80% of its maximum whilst you play.


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Heather Olver, mixed doubles partner of Anthony Clark and hoping to represent GB in 2012, said: “It’s a tough sport as there are so many aspects to it.

“I love the competitive nature of it – the opportunity of getting better all the time and improving my game.”

Thanks to its calorie-friendly nature, if weight loss is one of your goals badminton will certainly help you . It delivers a great all-body toning and strengthening fitness workout. Unbelievably, one competitive game will see you cover three miles and burn over 1,000 calories – more effective than running or swimming.

“Now and again I’ll have a KFC,” Olver added.

“Some people tend to eat healthy before a competition, but I would never deprive myself of chocolate if I wanted it. But I would never go overboard – everything in moderation!”

In terms of the muscular side of the workout, the calves and quads are strengthened by the frequent jumping, rapid changes of direction and the necessary speed of movement around the court.


Due to the constant lunging required in a game, your glutes also have a good work out (good news for most!).  The arms, shoulders and back are constantly worked by hitting drop shots and overhead shots with your triceps and biceps constantly tested as you guide the racquet and control the shot.

The necessity to stretch for a shot and still maintain a high level of control over the shuttlecock means a great workout for your abs and your core stability. In top level competition the shuttlecock can travel over 200mph so speedy reactions and hand eye coordination are also improved through playing.

Andy Allford, strength and conditioning coach for BADMINTON England, the sport’s national governing body, is in no doubt about the benefits the sport can have on a healthy lifestyle.

“One of the best ways to get in shape is to play badminton a couple of times a week.

“Playing badminton will help distract your mind rather than focussing on the arduous task of burning calories as it will be thinking about outwitting your opponent and what tactics to use rather than spending hours in a gym with only your thoughts for company, which are normally telling you to stop!

“Your arms, stomach and legs become more toned and your fitness will improve dramatically. It is the quickest of all racquet sports and you will see improvement in coordination, speed and your reactions in a short period of time.

“If you are looking for a lasting activity then I strongly recommend joining your local badminton club.”

One of the sport’s major attractions is its accessibility – a recent survey discovered even more people took up the sport last year following on from previous continual annual growth, so it won’t be hard to find a partner.

It is also really cheap to play, all you need to get started is a pair of trainers, a racquet, a partner and head to your local sports hall for a knockabout.

“Go out and enjoy it, and don’t take it too seriously,” Olver said.

“Anyone can play it which is the great thing about the sport.

“It’s not very expensive, just pick up a racket and play. Get a group of you and have fun, burn a few calories.”

Badminton is an ideal way to meet new people. Findings have shown that you are much more likely to stick with a social sport compared to individual sports such as swimming, running or going to the gym.

There are hundreds of clubs nationwide and if you are more interested in a serious workout with qualified coaches and competitive matches visit www.badmintonengland.co.uk/fl/clubs/findaclub.asp or email membership@badmintonengland.co.uk to find your local club.

For further information visit the BADMINTON England website www.badmintonengland.co.uk

Nick Grounds, Sportsister
The Women’s Sport Magazine

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