Heard about the newest fitness craze to hook celebs and fitness enthusiasts alike? It’s squash! No, in case you’re wondering, this isn’t the vegetable you find in pinakbet. It’s a racquet sport involving two or four players (singles or doubles, as in tennis and badminton). The game is played in a four-walled court with a small rubber ball.

Basically, players take turns hitting the ball against the front wall, taking care that:

- the ball does not hit the floor before it hits the wall,
- it stays within the marked boundaries (otherwise, the ball is considered “out”), and
- the player whose turn it is hits the ball after it has bounced off the front wall from the opposing player’s strike, but before it has bounced on the floor twice

Failure to meet the above rules awards a point to one’s opponent.

But why take it up as a sport? Surely there are other more traditional ways to work out—and cheaper ones too! Celeb squash player Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez shares 10 reasons to take up this fast-action, hard-hitting sport:

1. It's the healthiest sport, according to this Forbes Magazine article.

2. It urges you to keep fit to perform better. There's a saying that goes, "You don't play squash to get fit. You get fit to play squash."

3. It builds muscular strength and endurance.

4. It is ideal for weight-loss due to the high cardiovascular output required to play the game.

5. It is the highest calorie-burning sport at 500 calories in 30 minutes—that’s 1,000 calories in 1 hour.

6. Squash is a full-body workout—you use the upper body (upper back, arms, abdomen) to swing the racquet and the lower body (legs) to lunge and run after the fast, low-bounce ball.

7. It will keep your arms toned.

8. The adrenalin rush you get from squash is unbelievable.

9. It doesn't require much fanfare—just one opponent, one racquet, and one ball.

10. It keeps the buns tight and firm.

Don’t believe her? Check out the slide show below, taken at the recent 3rd Celebrity Squash Cup, where some of our favorite celebs were seen pounding the courts, some of whom volunteered their own reasons for taking up squash.

(Photos by Konrad Ong, PJ Enriquez, and Aly Reyes)

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