If you are looking to take up playing sport as a way of life to improve health and are unable to decide on which one to do, we would like to recommend racquetball. In the piece below we look at the health benefits associated with playing racquetball and whether it is a good exercise for you.
The biggest advantage playing a racket sport like racquetball is you don’t need to worry about needing a quorum of players to get going. All you need is a racquetball racket, a ball and a court and you are off to the races.
Not to mention, racquetball isn’t a difficult to sport to pick up either (if you are just starting out, you can check for racquetball rules here).
And while racquetball can be played indoor or outdoor, a fully enclosed court means you can get away with all kinds of weather which isn’t the case with other sports like tennis or pickleball.
This isn’t even counting the health benefits associated with racquetball, some of which we have attempted to list down below. That, to us, is a huge incentive to continue playing racquetball or to take to the sport if you are wondering if it’s the right fit for you.
Please note that like most sports, one could suffer injuries playing racquetball including eye and hand injuries. Those already suffering from known coronary problems should exercise caution playing any kind of racket sports including racquetball.
With that in mind, here’re some of the health benefits associated with playing racquetball.
- Helps Lose Weight
- Provides Aerobic & Anaerobic Benefits
- Works Every Muscle Group
- Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
- Improves Balance & Flexibility
- It is a Fun & Competitive Sport
- Social Element Aids Mental Health
Expanding on the aforementioned benefits of playing racquetball, we explain each of those points in detail below.
Helps in Reduction of Weight
Racquetball is an intense sport involving vigorous motion throughout the court at quick speeds which is followed by some breathing space.
This intensity helps the individual lose calories quickly and with regular playing time, racquetball can go a long way in reducing one’s weight.
To give you an idea, one can lose anywhere between 400 to 800 calories playing racquetball per hour. Even playing the sport three or four times a week, consistently can go a long way in losing one’s calories and in turn one’s weight.
How Many Calories Can Be Burnt Playing Racquetball?
Racquetball is a very intense sport that can help an individual lose weight by burning calories.
Even a casual game of racquetball can burn around 500-600 calories in an hour depending on your weight while if you are playing it at a more intense level, you could end up losing more than 700 calories in one hour.
To give you a very rough estimate, researchers have found that shedding 500 calories a day could help you lose a pound (450 grams) a week – depending on your gender, weight and the kind of diet you have among other factors.
Provides Aerobic & Anaerobic Benefits
For starters, it would behoove us to define what an aerobic and an anaerobic exercise is.
MedicalNewsToday.com defines the two as follows:
“Aerobic exercises are endurance-type exercises that increase a person’s heart rate and breathing rate over relatively long durations. Anaerobic exercises are exercises that involve short bursts of intense activity.”
In short, aerobic exercises improve an individual’s endurance while anaerobic exercises assist in improving strength and body muscle.
Racquetball provides its player with both aerobic and anaerobic benefits, which in turn improves players’ endurance, strength and muscle.
As compared to squash (which has its own health benefits as explained here), racquetball could be termed as a more anaerobic sport because of its shorter, quicker rallies followed by quick breaks but it isn’t without its aerobic advantages given it gets an individual’s heart-rate up over time.
In essence, all sports – which includes racquetball too – which provide both aerobic and anaerobic benefits help increase stamina and endurance and improve muscle and bone fitness.
As a result, it is also a great cardiovascular exercise.
Works Every Muscle Group
Sports, in general, boost health but there are some like racquetball which positively affect every part of the body. Given the manner in which the sport is played, it should come as no surprise.
After all, the lower body is constantly on the move, zigzagging through the court and studies prove a player moves around two miles during a game of racquetball.
On the other hand, the core gets a strong working over because of its use for balance during the game while the back muscles get their workout with all that bending about.
Lastly the upper body and arms are used for ball control and power-hitting, all of which ensures that the entire body’s muscle group gets a proper exercise.
Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
Again, because of the manner in which it is played, consistent racquetball playing goes a long way in helping improve your hand-eye coordination.
As we age, our hand-eye coordination tends to weaken but remaining associated with a sport like racquetball delays the onset of this issue.
As a racquetball player you constantly on the run, and at the same time watching the ball intently before having to hit it back while in semi-motion. It’s the kind of exercise that ensures an improving hand-eye coordination on a regular basis.
Increases Balance & Flexibility
Again, the nature of racquetball is such that one is constantly on the move and has to bend down and on the sides at time consistently to ensure the return of the ball.
Not just the movement but racquetball also improves the ability to be nimble on one’s feet to be able to stop at the right moment to crash the ball back. The constant stopping and stretching also improves your suppleness.
Why this is very crucial is because as we age, there is a tendency to suffer balance issues which, in turn, could lead to falls and injuries. An improved body balance and flexibility goes a long way in preventing such injuries and playing racquetball could prove to be a huge benefit.
Life’s a Fun Place Playing Racquetball
This might sound like bit of an overkill given you could say this for most sports but racquetball is a fun sport that keeps your mental health in check.
As an individual sport, you don’t quite have to rely on the presence of others or even their performances to make you feel good, but at the same time it is an interesting sport that allows those competitive juices to keep flowing.
This kind of competition adds to the fun element, in turn increasing motivation levels for those playing racquetball. This combination makes it easier for the participants to return to court, which in turn helps good health as opposed to routine workouts which can test one’s motivation.
Social Element Helps Mental Health
Again, much like the previous point on racquetball being a fun sport like most others, it is also one where the social element associated with playing racquetball aids mental health.
For starters, any kind of exercise increases the production of endorphins which naturally reduce stress and keep depression away.
Add that to the fact that playing racquetball means heading to a sports club, interacting with others playing the same sport, discussing strategy and results among other interactive aspects, and racquetball could help boost an individual’s mental health too.
Final Words on Racquetball as an Exercise
Racquetball is a brilliant form exercise that brings with it a host of health benefits. While routine workouts might offer some of the similar benefits, playing racquetball has other health advantages that not all of these gym exercises provide making it a much sought-after sport.