February 2010 All News
Badminton for good health
BADMINTON England is exploring the potential benefits of badminton to improving the nation’s health through a number of schemes across the Country.
Pilot schemes, incorporating badminton into local exercise referral schemes, have been set up in South Northamptonshire and Bury St Edmonds. The aim of these schemes is to assess the impact of badminton on improving the health of participants and whether working with health partners can help increase participation in badminton.
The benefits of sporting and physical activity to people’s health are well established. Exercise referral schemes are offered across the Country, encouraging patients with particular conditions to take part in sport or physical activity as a way of improving their health. Data from the Active People survey shows that 91% of badminton participation is classified as vigorous. This means that badminton provides participants with a vigorous cardiovascular work rate, which in turn has the potential to deliver a general health benefit.
Despite these statistics, in many areas, badminton is not part of exercise referral schemes. Badminton requires someone to play with, so a lot of schemes have concentrated on activities such as walking and going to the gym where partners are not needed. However, new products, such as No Strings Badminton, now mean that it is possible to establish badminton sessions into which exercise referral specialists can refer patients without having to find someone for them to play with.
In the pilot No Strings Badminton sessions have been set up and exercise referral coordinators encourage the referral of patients into these sessions. Some are specifically just for exercise referral clients and others are linking patients on exercise referral into existing No Strings Badminton sessions.
In addition to seeing if badminton can help improve people’s health, the pilots are an important part of BADMINTON England’s work to increase participation in the sport. Working with health partners is potentially part of plans to achieve this growth as it provides an opportunity to access a new group of the population that does not currently play badminton.
The aim of the pilots and other schemes being developed by regional officers, through community badminton networks, is to collect evidence on their success in helping to improve people’s health. If the evidence demonstrates this to be the case, the aim will be to encourage more primary care trusts and health professionals to incorporate badminton into their exercise referral schemes and thereby support more people to take up the sport.