Are you looking for an activity to help you keep your stress levels down? Consider a regular routine of playing badminton! It’s engaging, accessible in all weather, and it has real health benefits which combat stress.
Badminton can be the perfect sport to help you manage stress. It gets you moving, generating good stress-reducing chemistry in your brain, it can be played at any intensity you like according to your mood, and it helps you build positive relationships with friends and coaches. Best of all, it’s an affordable form of stress management! Read on and find out how some of these stress-busting benefits could really help you.
1. Badminton gets you moving
Badminton is relatively fast-paced and you will be doing lots of movement around the indoor court. You can choose the pace of each game: a friendly, relaxed game to unwind with a friend, or a more competitive, intense game that requires full focus.
Whichever you choose, the cardio benefits will lower your resting heart rate, which makes your body more resilient against psychological stress.
2. Play for any amount of time you feel like
Depending on how you feel, you can play a series of games, one game, or just have an informal hit with a friend, and still get stress-relieving benefits. Even five minutes of physical activity stimulates anti-anxiety effects, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Even when you are short of time or not feeling your best, badminton can be your go-to stress-lowering activity. Try it and see for yourself.
3. Badminton is always accessible despite the weather
While outdoor activity is good too, on many days it’s just not practical or enjoyable to be out in the weather to exercise.
Most cities and many communities have indoor badminton centres. This makes badminton a reliable, everyday go-to for managing ongoing stress levels. Players don’t need to worry about whether rain, snow, or windstorms will ruin their badminton plans.
4. Badminton can build relationships
Healthy, positive relationships are crucial for our psychological health, and they help us be more resilient when under stress. Just knowing that you have a close companion will wash away your worries.
Badminton is not a solo game – it requires another person! This means you will be building relationships, whether it’s strengthening an existing friendship, getting to know an acquaintance or a workmate better on the badminton court, or making new friends at your local club.
5. Badminton refreshes your concentration
When you are stressed, it’s hard to concentrate. Studies show that exercise helps the brain to recover from a fatigued state, resets its alertness and powers of concentration, and improves overall cognition.
When you feel like you can’t concentrate on one more thing, a quick badminton game can reset and refresh your mental function.
6. Badminton can give you back your energy
Stress depletes the physical energy from our bodies. It can make us want to sleep more and eat more, sometimes not in a healthy way.
Many people report that even if they didn’t have much energy before exercise, after exercise they feel that their energy levels have increased.
7. The whole-body movements of badminton release stress
The action of hitting a shuttlecock with the racket is a coordinated whole-body movement that uses your arms and legs as well as your core.
Whole-body movements with extension in the arms and legs are techniques which have long been used to calm the body and mind in exercise such as tai chi and yoga, albeit at a slower pace.
The whole-body extension and coordination, as well as the muscular effort of hitting and running, are all regulating and calming to the body.
8. Badminton gives you better sleep
There’s nothing like stress to keep you awake at night. What is worse than lying awake with a racing mind running over anxious thoughts?
By introducing a game of badminton into your day, you break the repetitive loop of stress-related thoughts and behaviours, and bring in a restorative activity that supports the balance of your entire system. As a result, your mind and body will slip more easily into sleep.
9. Badminton requires your focus
A stress-reducing technique which is now very popular is mindfulness. This is a state of paying attention to the present moment. Focusing on the present and being fully engaged in it reduces stress, according to Harvard Health.
Because badminton is a fast-moving, back-and-forth sport, your focus will be fully on playing the game, and other worries will be temporarily shifted from your mind. This gives the brain a much-needed break, allowing it to find a state of balance again.
10. Badminton is a cost-effective stress-busting activity
While there are many methods and therapies offered to combat stress, they can be costly, and in fact,
unaffordable on a regular basis. You could be spending thousands a year on expensive physical or psychological supports.
By being budget-friendly, badminton can simultaneously reduce stress while not being financially burdensome.
11. Badminton makes you happier
The physical activity and coordination required to play badminton generates good chemistry in your brain. These include serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and endorphins.
Endorphins, released when we exercise, are feel-good neurotransmitters that lift mood. Many people find that they leave the badminton court feeling light, happy and energized.
12. Badminton gives you a community
By playing badminton at your local indoor center, you become part of a community locally, and you join a movement that is sweeping the world.
Community belonging is a key factor in reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
13. Badminton can build family bonds
Many people nowadays experience the stress of long hours away from their loved ones during a busy work or school day. Children and young people, particularly, need time engaging positively with their parents and siblings to help them cope with the stress of the wider world.
Because it is accessible by almost all age groups and skill levels, badminton is the perfect sport to play with your family. You will all experience the stress-lowering benefits of building up your family bonds as you have fun and learn together.
14. Badminton counters the effect of stress on your immune system
Stress is bad news for your immune system, depressing it and making you more prone to both acute illnesses now and chronic illnesses in the future.
When does badminton help you manage stress? The good news is that it helps you at both times, immediately and in the long-term. So build up your immune system and the future of your health by making badminton a regular part of your routine.
15. Badminton teaches decision-making under pressure
As you play badminton, you are training your brain to quickly assess a situation, weigh various factors, make a decision, and put that decision into action.
You may not be aware of it directly, but the type of training that happens when we play a sport has benefits for decision-making abilities in everyday life – at work, when you’re under time pressure, or when you face a new situation. Badminton helps you to manage stress in real life situations as you’re used to making fast decisions while under pressure.
16. Badminton stimulates the pre-frontal cortex
The pre-frontal cortex does the higher thinking work of the brain, analyzing situations and making complex decisions.
The beauty of the pre-frontal cortex is that when it is working, other areas of your brain which are involved in the stress response, such as the limbic system, switch off.
The changing nature and quick decision-making of a badminton game directly engage your pre-frontal cortex, literally switching off the stress response. Neat!
17. You can get as technical with badminton as you want to
Taking time out from work to become fully absorbed in an interest is a favorite stress-busting strategy for many. If you have an interest in badminton, learn more about its theory and how it can be put into practice.
Most badminton centers will have one or more coaches, who can help educate you and assist you to master new skills.
18. You can find mentors who model work-life balance
In addition, coaches attached to a badminton center can become positive role models for you and your family.
They are often players who have worked hard and shown dedication, physically and psychologically, to achieve their level of skill, and then used those skills to achieve their sporting goals.
Usually, they will have become adept at managing stress in all its forms, and they can model healthy behaviours and states of mind for both you and your children or adolescents.
19. Badminton lowers cortisol
Cortisol is a notorious stress hormone, and it wreaks havoc in the body and mind. It becomes elevated when we are stressed, and also at mid-life in women. Cortisol is made in the adrenal glands, and it stimulates the fight-or-flight response in the body and brain. It is detrimental to have high cortisol all the time.
Both the physical exercise and the mental focus required to play badminton directly act on the body and brain to reduce cortisol levels, freeing your body from this potentially damaging hormone.
20. You can find personal success
Success, and the natural “high” that comes from achievement, can be found in many ways playing badminton.
You might set personal goals as you develop your badminton skills, you might reach out for competition achievements, and you might discover a natural talent that can be nurtured.
Working with your strengths and weaknesses over time can build a sense of achievement and forward progress, which fosters healthy emotions and pride.
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