Squash the Stigma: What are the mental health benefits of squash?

To kick off our Squash the Stigma campaign, we invited Sue Strachan to write a guest post sharing the mental health benefits of squash. Sue is an FSRC and physician with over 36 years of experience working as a doctor. In her spare time she is a keen squash player who is passionate about sport.

As a doctor I can truly say that the physical and mental health benefits of squash are massive.

I gave up squash when I qualified as a doctor and I tried lots of other things but nothing “did it” for me like squash. When I think about it what I missed most was the impact of playing squash on my mental health and wellbeing.

45 minute sessions are standard- quicker than the average gym session! You get a full body exercise you can choose what intensity you play at and for how long. The higher the intensity the bigger the “post exercise buzz”. That “buzz” is produced by the effect of squash on your mental wellbeing. It is the production of your brain’s natural pain killers called “endorphins”  and it feels great!

The blood runs faster round your brain too so you can think more clearly and remember things better if you have played squash earlier in the day. It’s a great exercise for students or those who are studying as it helps you learn and also wakes you up for a few hours after you play.

A lunchtime session will perk you up and make you more productive in the afternoon!

Your body gets healthier and stronger almost without you realising as the time passes so quickly because you are playing games. As adults we don’t get to play enough and squash allows you to do that whilst the court session time is just right to fit into a busy life.

Then there is the social aspect of squash. Playing with friends new and old and having a laugh and a joke before, during and after your session is a key part of maximising the benefits of squash on your mental wellbeing.

Squash is the perfect sport for a busy life and I would recommend it to anyone. Just find a club near you and enquire about beginner or returner sessions and remember to play with a bouncy enough ball to ensure that you have the best fun as you learn.

As part of our Squash the Stigma campaign, we are encouraging members of Scotland’s squash community to anonymously share their own squash related mental health stories. We will share some of these on social media as part of the campaign. If you would like to share yours, click here.