13 Benefits of Playing Badminton, Backed by Scientific Studies


Playing badminton has many benefits. Some of them are shared with all sports, whereas others are quite unique to badminton. In this post, we are going to talk about all the different benefits that badminton has, not only physical benefits but also mental or social benefits. Curious? Then read on!

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Badminton benefits – Physical benefits

Health is the most important item you have in your life. You can have everything else in life but, if you are not healthy, the quality of your life suffers dramatically. Physical health is an important part of your overall health and badminton can help you to become physically healthier. Below we have collected all the physical benefits of playing badminton.

1. Badminton develops physical agility

Badminton is a very fast sport, both while playing singles and doubles. The shuttle travels at a lightning speed and you have to react to that in a matter of milliseconds.

The agility is such an important factor in badminton that, in 2014, a research was carried in order to develop a standardized system to measure the agility in badminton. The research is called “Badminton: Specific movement agility testing system”.

Therefore, if you play badminton, you will develop your physical agility because you will need to move as fast as possible in order to catch the shuttle. In our badminton drills post, we even show some interesting exercises taught by world-famous badminton player Peter Gade that are aimed at improving your agility. That is also a reason why badminton players are usually so slim. The more you weigh, the more difficult it is to be agile. If you are not sure about that, think about how agile professional bodybuilders are.

In this incredible rally you can see how both mental and physical agility are used when playing badminton

2. More reach leads to better balance and flexibility

Apart from the agility improvement that you will gain from playing badminton, another benefit is the balance and flexibility that is gained through the practice of badminton.

Being such a fast sport, sometimes you have to shoot in uncomfortable situations while keeping yourself standing up. This will over time help you improve your body balance. Moreover, it will help you improve your flexibility because you will have to stretch yourself further than you thought possible to catch the shuttle.

You can see how important balance is in our badminton footwork guide, where we explain all there is to know about the badminton footwork, including why to improve your balance you need to keep your center of gravity as low as possible.

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You can see how balance and flexibility play an important part of badminton in this top trickshots of 2018

3. You can lose weight by playing badminton

Yes, you can lose weight by playing badminton. As we explained in our badminton vs tennis post, you can burn around 500 calories in one hour by playing badminton. This, together with the fact that it is categorized as a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise makes it a great sport if you are looking to lose some weight.

Why is HIIT good for losing weight? According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, HIIT may be more effective for losing weight than longer less intense workouts such as running. One of the explanations might be that after the exercise has been finished, you keep burning calories because you have activated your body much more with this type of exercise. If this was the case, it would mean that after playing badminton for 1 hour and burning 500 calories, your body would keep burning more calories during the following hours without you having to exercise further.

4. Skeleton & Bone density. Badminton increases bone density during youth and may help maintain it during adulthood

Badminton benefits are not only improved agility, flexibility, and balance. Playing badminton also helps to build and maintain a healthy skeleton.

In a review undertaken in 2008, it was shown that physical activity increases bone mass during growth. The researches highlighted badminton as one of the most effective sports to practice in order to improve skeletal strength. A follow-up review to check whether the benefits of bone mass induced growth were maintained during adulthood was less conclusive, but it still showed a positive correlation between exercise in adulthood and the maintenance of bone density.

5. Badminton is good for your heart. It improves heart health very efficiently

Another research backed benefit of badminton (as of any high-intensity interval training) is that improves heart function much more than other lower intensity exercises if you practice it the same amount of time. In a study published in 2016 titled “Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment”, the researchers proved that you could get the same benefits in a high-intensity interval training than in traditional endurance training even though you exercised 5 times less.

In addition to that, a study from February 2019 titled “The Impact of Aerobic Exercise and Badminton on HDL Cholesterol Levels in Adult Taiwanese” proved that practitioners of badminton achieve higher levels of HDL Cholesterol. As elevated levels of HDL-C have been associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), one can enjoy a good badminton match knowing that he is also decreasing his or her risk of coronary heart disease.

6. Practicing badminton helps improve lung function, especially if you are or were a smoker

Another benefit of practicing sport, even though not such a dramatic one as the others, is the improvement on lung function. It is clearly backed by research that sports help people with lung disease to improve their lung health. However, until 2017, there was not much information to be found about the effects of sport in the lungs of healthy people.

In a study named “Association of physical activity with lung function in lung-healthy German adults: results from the KORA FF4 study”, this missing research was tackled and the results indicate that there is a minor improvement on lung function by practicing sport. This improvement is more visible if you are or were a smoker.

7. Badminton helps to reduce the risk of diabetes type 2

Badminton, like any sport, is proved to help to prevent the risk of diabetes type 2. In a study carried on 2005 titled “Epidemiological evidence for the role of physical activity in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease”, in which badminton was included, the researchers proved that exercising helped to reduce the number of people with diabetes, helped to reduce the glucose levels and helped to reduce the mortality.

Badminton benefits – Mental benefits

But it is not all about physical health. Your muscles and organs are only a part of your overall health. The other part that will keep you healthy is your mental health. For this aspect of health, studies have also shown sport to be a good antidote to fight mental illnesses such as depression or to simply keep your mind more active. Here are some of the mental benefits of practicing badminton.

8. Badminton develops mental agility

The same that was true for physical agility is true for mental agility. In the research called “Badminton: Specific movement agility testing system”, the testing is not only about how fast your body moves but also about how fast you react and start moving, which is a great measurement for mental agility.

You need to mentally react fast to your opponent’s shots and you need to decide in the blink of an eye what will your next shot be. It is not only about your body moving fast to catch the shuttle, but it is also about your brain telling your body fast enough to start moving.

9. Badminton reduces the chances of depression

While being mentally agile is very important, nothing is as critical as feeling satisfied with yourself. Depression is, therefore, one of the most important illnesses that need to be kept at bay. The UK Government did an extensive report named “Start Active, Stay Active” where they highlighted that there is a 20-30% lower risk for depression and dementia, for adults participating in daily physical activity. While this is in itself impressive, it doesn’t take into account the social benefits of team or club sports, which we will deal with in the section of the social benefits.

10. Badminton could help fight stress

Although we could not find any research that backs up this statement, the fact that badminton is a high-intensity interval training exercise and the fact that you can put all your soul in smashes make badminton a great candidate for fighting stress. In a recent article titled “Smashing stress with a shuttlecock” the University of Buffalo tackles precisely this topic. I think the following quote from an assistant professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science sums it up perfectly.

“A fast-paced game with a few service smashes is also very useful for working through any type of stress you might have.”

Vijay Muthaiah, assistant professor Department of Rehabilitation Science in article “Smashing stress with a shuttlecock”

Therefore, if you are stressed at work or at home, a good badminton match might be all you need in order to get back on track. If you have never played a badminton match, in our badminton match post we explain all you need to know to get started with playing a badminton match.

Badminton benefits – Social benefits

Health is not all about body and mind. Study after study has shown how interaction with other human beings and being part of the community have also a positive impact on your overall health. But not everything is about health. You also need to develop your social skills in order to become a more successful person or simply to be able to better connect with other people. In here, badminton can help too.

11. Playing badminton is an excellent way to meet new people

Because badminton has to be played in twos or fours, it can be a good way to meet new people. Moreover, the fact that badminton is usually organized in clubs makes this even better. You get to play with or against more people as you switch teammates and opponents.

Going to play badminton in a club can be an excellent way to get to know long-term residents if you are moving to a new city and you don’t know anyone. It can also be a good way to expand your circle if you feel the need to meet but you don’t know where to look for.

12. Badminton can teach you about both teamwork & individual work

Even though the teams are not as big as in other sports, a doubles couple is still a team. And if you start to play tournaments, you may start attending club tournaments, where different matches are played but the main objective is to win the most number of matches. In these two situations, badminton becomes a good way to learn teamwork. You have to care for your teammate and make sure you are both connected. In a clubs game, you may need to give up on your expectations or individual goals in order to help the team win the greater battle.

But, sometimes, badminton also leaves you alone against the storm. Especially when you are playing a singles tournament, it will be you against your opponent and the results will be a matter of who plays best. The environment is, in general, very controlled, and the umpires do not have such a big impact as they can have in other sports such as soccer or basketball. Therefore, you will always have to face the reality of a game lost and learn to take responsibility for it. That can help you grow as a person and take responsibility for things also in other parts of your life.

Badminton benefits – Convenience benefits

13. You can play badminton whatever the weather is

Although badminton can be and is played outdoors, to fully enjoy badminton’s potential you need to practice it indoors, under controlled and specific conditions. Only this way you can make the most of the sport’s speed and need for accuracy and surface traction.

As it is mainly an indoor’s sport, it means that you can play no matter what the weather is like outside. If it is raining, you will be kept dry inside. If it is cold, the building will keep you warm enough. The building will also help you if it is warm, as it will keep you cool enough. Therefore, there will not be any external factors that will stop you from being able to train.

Last words

And with this, we have arrived at the end of the post. Do you know of any other research backed benefit of playing badminton? Did you find any of the benefits explained above surprising? Then let us know in the comments below!

By MiquelM

I have been playing badminton since I was a kid, playing in both national and international tournaments at a semi-professional level. If you want to know a bit more about me, check my "About me" page.

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