If you were asked to name one of the most popular sports in the world then chances are that the humble racket sport badminton would not feature on your list. Your first thoughts might be soccer, hockey, or cricket, but badminton, probably not.
Therefore, you might be surprised to learn that badminton is actually the second most popular sport in the world, in terms of participation that is, not the watching of the sport.
Yes, in case you are wondering, soccer or football came up as number one. Of course.
But back to badminton. How has this sport, which although it looks fun to play, been ranked the second most popular sport in the word?
People across the globe must be loving it for a reason, so let’s take a closer look at this sport and see what all the fuss is about.
How did badminton first come about?
This sport can be traced back thousands of years to an ancient game called battledore and shuttlecock; it was an upper-middle-class pastime that was popular in England as well as several other European countries. However, modern badminton first originated in the mid-19th century in British India where a net was added to the original concept of battledore and shuttlecock.
The name badminton came from the Duke of Beaufort who introduced the game to his guests at his stately home named Badminton.
The first Open Tournament was held in 1898 in Guildford, England and the International Badminton Federation was formed in 1934.
However, it wasn’t until 1992 that badminton first became an Olympic sport and so far, only five countries have won gold medals: China, Indonesia, Korea, England and Denmark.
In which countries is badminton most popular?
There are currently more than 190 members of the Badminton World Federation and this sport is played all over the world.
However, there are several countries who love this racket sport a bit more than most:
- South Korea
As you can see, as well as in the UK, badminton is very popular in almost all Asian countries.
Why is playing badminton so popular?
Firstly, there are many health benefits of playing this racket sport:
- Badminton can help you lose weight. You can burn on average 400-550 calories per hour playing badminton.
- Badminton can improve your lung function. Studies show that this sport can dramatically improve the health and function of your lungs by improving your overall stamina.
- Badminton can cure hypertension. Playing badminton can reduce and even cure hypertension by actively lowering your blood pressure and producing natural chemical reactions in your body to treat this condition.
- Badminton cam lower your risk of diabetes. The physical activity associated with this sport can help lower your blood sugar levels, therefore reducing your risk of diabetes.
- Badminton does not put pressure on your joints. In fact, it promotes bone growth and alleviates the stress on both your bones and joints.
- Badminton improves your reflexes. Badminton requires constant alertness and high levels of concentration as well as improving your reflexes each time you play.
- Badminton raises your metabolism. Badminton makes your body sweat, expelling nasty toxins and improving your metabolism.
- Badminton is an overall toner. When you play this sport, you use lots of different muscle groups, plus you are moving around a lot, leading to a more toned and svelte body.
- Badminton fights stress. This fun sport can help battle depression, anxiety and stress, making you feel more motivated and ready to take on the day.
- Badminton improves cognitive function. This sport requires you to coordinate your mind and your body which is great for improving cognitive function.
- Badminton is good for your heart health. Playing this sport regularly can help strengthen the heart muscle and reduce the risk of your blood vessels clogging.
- Badminton improves your core muscles. Working your calves, butt, quads and hamstrings, badminton will give you a body that is the envy of all your friends.
As well as the long list of health benefits, badminton is also a great way for meeting new people (because it is inclusive of all ages and fitness abilities), and improving your social skills. Not only this but it can also be played inside or outdoors so is suitable for all weather conditions. Best of all, it requires minimal equipment – all you need are good badminton rackets and a shuttlecock or two, which you can find from a site such badminton.hq.co.uk. They supply a diverse range of rackets from various well known brands and offer options for both the beginner and professional.
10 Fun facts about the game of badminton
- Badminton is a lot more intense than tennis with nail-bitingly close matches a regular occurrence.
- Asia dominates the sport – winning a whopping 93 out of the 103 Olympic medals given out in this sport.
- The shortest badminton match lasted a mere 6 minutes.
- The shuttlecock is always made from the left-wing of a goose.
- Originally, the strings of a badminton racket were made from the lining of a cat’s stomach – don’t worry they are now synthetic.
- In China, badminton is also played with feet instead of rackets.
- Badminton was originally called ‘Poona’ in India because of the region that it originated in.
- Badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world, with shuttlecocks reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour.
- The longest badminton match lasted 124 minutes.
- The Kansas City Art Museum is home to the world’s largest shuttlecock, measuring 18ft tall and weighing nearly three tons.
So, if you are looking for a new hobby, one that is fun and also has the ability to optimize both your physical and mental wellbeing, then look no further. Badminton can be either a light and enjoyable way to exercise with your family and friends, or it can be a suspenseful, rollercoaster of a match if you are wanting to flex your competitive muscles.
Either way, this all-inclusive sport is currently the second most played one in the whole world, so why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose…except maybe some weight!