HIIT – high intensity interval training – is the buzz word in the fitness world at the moment.
Personal trainers across the country are falling over themselves to promote the benefits of short, frequent blasts of maximum effort, maximum intensity exercise followed by a brief cooling off period only to go again full tilt in a fixed fitness window of no more than 40 minutes.
Now the much-played racket sport of badminton is being touted as offering all the benefits of HIIT whilst offering all the social benefits that don’t typically come with spending time in the gym.
It’s not quite that quaint rainy day activity you will recall with fond memories from your school days.
These days, anywhere, anytime badminton offers one of the best all over workouts of any sport out there - exercising your body and mind – whatever your motivation or reason to get on court.
It’s all about the ballistics and propulsion of keeping that innocent looking shuttlecock off the ground. Packed with explosive movements such as running, jumping, swinging, twisting, smashing and lunging - it’s all great for building muscle tone. A simple game can tone your forearms, calves, butt, quads, glutes, hamstrings, back muscles and triceps plus many more muscle groups.
It offers unpredictable gameplay, involving short, sharp rallies, quick feet, speed of thought and sudden releases of power and varying intervals of pace. This all in the space of a 12-15 minute game, makes it a perfect HIIT regime.
The shuttlecock can reach top speeds of 200mph – faster than an F1 car - meaning players must be quick off the mark to reach it as well as using their mind to best assess how best to play the shot.
It will push your cardio capacity, build your stamina and sharpen the mind. It is this combined agility of mind and body that advances reflexes as well as thought processes. It leads to improved balance, flexibility of your all important core as well as building muscle and power in places you never knew existed.
And it’s awesome for fat burning as well. An hour of HIIT style badminton workout can burn 450 calories and if you play with friends you can burn twice as much! Another reason to get on court rather than into the gym!