5 tips to improve general fitness and health

General Fitness is not only important for being a great Squash player but its also very important for your quality of life. Take a look at our top five recommendations.

Meditate: deep breathing, quiet contemplation or sustained focus on a color, phrase or sound can help you let go of stress and feel peaceful and relaxed. Stress isn’t good for your well-being and your heart health it causes heart rate and blood pressure to increase (which both increase risk of heart disease). One study from 2012 found that African-Americans with heart disease who regularly practiced meditation were 48% less likely to suffer heart attack or stroke than African-Americans who attended a health education class for over 5 years. Incorporating this relaxation process into your daily routine could reduce your risk of cardiovascular incidents. Sound worth it?

Eat 5 fruits/vegetables per day. Don’t think about having to cut out other foods from your diet, focus on adding veggies to breakfast, snacks, lunch, and/or dinner. They can be very flavorful, are low in calories and high in fiber to fill you up without contributing a ton to your calorie bank. Cut up fresh veggies to dip in hummus or nut butter for a snack. Add some to your morning eggs, fill half your dinner plate with non-starchy veggies. Your heart will thank you for it!

Get some activity. The American Heart Association defines physical activity as “anything that makes you move your body and burn calories”. Not a runner, go to a dance class, play tennis, go for a walk, do something! Activity is great for your heart, your mood, your stress levels, and your mobility in the future. We asked Personal Trainer Shoreditch London what he recommends for overall cardiovascular health. He recommends to do at least 30 minutes cardio five days per week, see below.

moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days/week.
Take a bit of time to do things you enjoy. Do you like painting, hiking, drawing, writing,…. Take some time to do activities you actually enjoy. Doing so will help reduce stress and increase happiness!

Practice mindful eating. If you pay attention to what you’re eating, and your satisfaction with what you’re eating you’re more likely to avoid overeating.

Hope you found these tips helpful.

5 Tips to Improve Your Squash Game

 

 

When you first begin any sport, you may feel out of your depth and unsure.  Thankfully the more we do something, the better we get.  However, sometimes the progress we do make is slower than we would like, so we search for valuable tips to help us get better quicker.  Squash is no exception.  It is a fast-paced game and sometimes even after months of play you can feel below par compared to your opponents.  Here are five tips to improve your squash game.

 

Become a Game Voyeur

 

If you have ever watched sport on the television, you will notice how easy a professional makes it look.  The same is true of any sport, so start watching how other players stage their game.  You will notice that some players are excellent and you can mimic elements of their play for your own game.  You will also see some bad habits and skills, which give you a chance to learn what not to do.

 

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

 

New squash players all tend to make one big mistake; they fixate on the back wall.  The key to improving your game is to learn to watch the ball.  Now, this might sound obvious, but it is a pretty hard skill to master.  The ball moves incredibly quickly, and you will need to learn to track moving objects.  Another good tip is to make sure you are moving just your head and neck to watch rather than your whole body as you don’t want to risk moving out of the best play zone.

 

Be Prepared to Practice

 

A crucial part of improving at any game is to practice.  While this might sound trite, you should never underestimate the importance of regular practice.  The more you hold the racket, hit the ball, move across the court, the more natural it all becomes.  This means you are not having to concentrate on the basics and can shift your attention to honing your skills.

 

Use the Whole Space

 

Remember that there are far corners as well as near shots.  By playing out to the corners, you can make your opponent work harder which gives you space to mentally regroup and potentially tires them quicker.  When you play a shot tight to the wall, you are ‘railing’.  This move means that your opponent is less likely to have the space to play an angled shot. Giving them fewer options and you the upper hand.

 

Work on Your Backhand

 

Most people favour a forehand serve over an backhand one.  However, there are merits to being able to be an accomplished server of both.  A backhand serve means you are better placed to see your opponent and reach the T quicker.  It also changes the angle off of the front wall which adds to a variety of shot techniques.

 

Mix It Up

 

You will find that some players, although good, are predictable.  They favour certain shots and speeds of play.  By being able to adapt your game so that you can vary your shots you will be a less predictable opponent and make others work harder.

 

Health Benefits of Squash

 

 

Squash might not be the first thing you think about when you are considering new ways to get yourself fit, and it might not be something you have ever tried.  Played inside a hard court using the back wall, squash is a racket based game that has some surprising health benefits that you might not have even considered.

 

Cardio Health

 

A game of squash moves faster than you might imagine.  The small hard ball travels quicker than a tennis ball and players are required to move at a pace to stand a chance of being in the right place.  Your opponents job is to make you work, as obviously they want to win so you might find yourself diving for the ball, running to get to the right side of the court and jumping if the ball has gone high.  All of these things are going to raise your heart rate which in turn assist with your cardiovascular health.

 

A Good Weight Control

 

All that running around and moving to try and get to the ball is also going to be a great way to help control your weight.  Burning calories and working up a sweat will all add to weight loss, provided of course you are also following a sensible diet.  The more you play squash, the more you will also build hand-eye coordination, and the benefits of weight a few less pounds will be evident as you find it easier to get to the ball and make the more tricky shots.

 

Strength Training

 

While you might not actively be lifting weights, you will find that playing squash regularly will also add to your overall strength and flexibility.  Your own body weight acts as resistance, but you will also be moving your arms and legs in new ways.  This means that muscles get stretched and worked.  The first few times you play, you will find that you are sore and stiff the next morning, but after a while, the benefits to your flexibility will be evident.  Because you are regularly reaching for the ball your back will also be stronger and your posture better.

 

Releasing Stress

 

When you are absorbed in playing the game, you will need to have a high level of concentration.  This means that you will have to leave your stress in the locker room as you cannot worry about things while you are playing.  When you are intensively using the body, you are also releasing feel-good chemicals that release stress and intensify feelings of happiness.   The more we can lower our stress the more we will benefit from a sense of overall wellbeing.

 

So if you have never tried squash, why not give it a go.  There are courts at most leisure centres, and many places offer trial sessions, and you can usually borrow the equipment needed.  All you will need is loose fitting clothing like shorts and tee shirts so that you can move quickly.  To avoid injury be sure to warm up with some stretches before you start and again at the end as your muscles cool down.