Every year, there seems to be a new trending sport that gets picked up by fitness influencers and gains popularity across the world. This year, a game developed in the 19th century is tipped to have a massive revival — badminton. Touted as one of the hottest fitness trends of 2024, let’s explore why badminton could be your new favorite game of the year.
As more people decide to take up group sports as a way to develop and foster social connections, it’s natural that classic games make a comeback. Far from being old-fashioned, badminton is attracting folks from Gen-Z to those enjoying their later years.
Potential benefits of badminton
Here are a few of the potential benefits both from physical and mental perspective on why badminton might be having its greatest revival in 2024:
1. It builds muscle
The active nature of the sport means that you are almost continually moving and engaging many different groups of muscles at the same time. This helps to build muscle, strengthen the core muscles, and shape and tone the body.
2. May help with weight management
For those of us who seek to burn fat, lose weight, or maintain our current physical fitness, badminton is an excellent choice. It's a great cardio workout which helps to shed unwanted pounds, and can be used as part of a varied exercise regime for weight loss and management.
3. Group sport helps build social connections
There’s no doubt that playing games with friends or making new connections through group sports, is a highly enriching experience for the mind, body, and heart. Badminton can be played in singles or doubles so it’s a great way to get four people together on a court, combining fitness with friendship.
4. Improves reflexes
You have to think on your feet and react quickly to defeat your opponents during a badminton game. Practicing swift movements is great for improving our reflexes and trains our brains to speed up cognitive processing. Quick reaction times are beneficial not just in sports, but in daily life too.
5. Strengthens your bones
Building bone density is crucial, especially as we age. Badminton involves a wide range of different movements which may encourage the calcium matrix to build more bone from the inside out, improving the health of your bones and the strength of your skeletal structure.
6. Improves cardiovascular function
During a vigorous game of badminton, you can expect both your heart rate and breathing rate to go up, giving your pulmonary system a good workout too. Playing badminton regularly can contribute to the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system as well as improving mobility and flexibility.
Badminton vs. tennis
Because these two sports are played using rackets to rally an object over a net for points, it’s easy to see why there are constant comparisons. They do share some similarities, but they are totally different games.
There are actually more serve techniques in badminton than in tennis, so when you start wanting to get to that elite level, you’ll have to study a lot of precision physicality. At a more experienced level, badminton also requires extra raw speed and agility because of the smaller court and the speed of the birdie.
On the other hand, you’ll need more muscular strength and aerobic endurance for a tennis match due to the size of the court and the weight of the racket and ball. You can also expect to play longer and run further during a tennis match than a badminton game.
Preparing for your first badminton game
Before heading to your nearest badminton court, it's wise to prepare your body for engaging in the sport.
Warm-up stretches for your arms
You will be doing a lot of reaching and stretching during a game of badminton, so focusing on your arm and shoulder mobility is key to preventing injury. Here are a few warm-up stretches to try:
Armpit side stretch. Lift both hands into the air and grab hold of your left wrist with your right hand. Gently lean over to the right, pulling on your left arm to feel the stretch into the armpit and the left side of the body. Repeat 3 times on both sides.
Shoulder rolls. Pull your shoulders up to your ears and rotate them forwards 10 times and then backwards 10 times. Really stretch them out as you do this.
Crossover shoulder stretch. Cross your left arm straight across your chest. Hook your right arm over the left arm, above or below the elbow joint, and use your right arm strength to pull your left arm further to the right. You should feel a deep stretch in your shoulder and through your trapezius muscle.
Warm up stretches for your legs
You'll be running around a lot on the badminton court, so make sure you warm up your legs ready for some explosive action and to minimize the risk of injury.
Quad stretch. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight into the right leg and bend your left knee, bringing the foot towards the buttocks. Hold onto the foot and gently push your hips forward, stretching out the hips and quad muscle. Repeat 3 times on both sides.
Wide leg forward fold. Take a wide stance with your feet facing forwards. Place your hands on your hips and hinge forwards keeping your core engaged and your back straight. Place your hands on the floor and gradually walk them back towards your midline until you feel a strong stretch in the groin and hamstrings.
Long lunge. Stand with your feet together and take a long stride forwards with your right leg. Bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep the back leg straight and keep your torso upright to feel a strong stretch through the hip and quad in the left leg. Repeat 3 times on both sides.
The right active wear
You'll be moving around the whole badminton court, making swift turns and long lunges during a game so your clothing and footwear really matter. Make sure you avoid clothes that rub or chaff as you could end up with sores. Also, ensure you have comfortable, well-fitting sneakers to avoid blisters or twisting your ankles.
Final thoughts on the badminton trend
While lots of sport trends come and go, badminton is one that can be enjoyed by all ages and levels of fitness. Despite the fact that at an elite level, badminton is a demanding Olympic sport, you can still happily play a low-key game in your back garden, the local park, or at a leisure center.
Is it okay to play badminton every day?
As long as you are warming up properly and making sure to stay injury free, there's no reason why you can't play badminton every day. Remember, it's important to have recovery time, so make sure you are taking at least two rest days a week.
Will badminton get me fit?
Badminton is a full body workout, so yes, if you play regularly you can expect to make progress in your cardiovascular and muscular fitness.
Is the gym better than badminton?
This depends on your desired outcome. If you want to make specific gains and to shape your body in a particular way, you'll be better off with a defined program of activity at the gym. However, if you are looking to improve overall fitness and engage in a group sport, badminton might be a better option.
Badminton is a low-impact sport, which means it can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.
It’s a group sport and a great way to create and build social connections with local teams.
You can buy a portable badminton kit and play a game pretty much anywhere.
- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Play badminton forever: a systematic review of health benefits.
- Journal of Sports Science. The impact of badminton on health markers in untrained females.