Benefits of Playing Tennis
Singles, doubles or against a backboard on your own, tennis is a great activity that can keep you in shape whether you’re age 5 or 95. It keeps your cardiovascular and muscular system in top shape even as you age. Plus, you can’t beat a strategic mental game that lets you enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors.
Full body workout: Unlike some sports, playing tennis is a brilliant workout for the entire body. You use your lower body for all that running, stopping and starting, jumping and crouching. And the action of hitting the tennis ball, whether it’s single or double-handed, means that your body does a lot of work as well, in particular your shoulders and upper back.
Improved aerobic and anaerobic health: Tennis increases your oxygen intake while playing, increasing your heart rate and helping your blood deliver oxygen and nutrients to all your muscles. It also helps in maintaining anaerobic health, which allows the muscles to use oxygen in a better way and provide quick energy spurts for explosive power and quick, reactive movements.
Burns calories and fat: Running, swinging, reaching, pivoting, tennis can be a real workout with the right opponent. It’s a whole-body sport, and you can burn a lot of calories because you’re constantly on the move. In fact, for many people, playing tennis can actually burn more calories than other popular types of physical activity, including leisurely cycling or dancing. As a result, playing tennis regularly has been shown to help reduce body fat. Singles tennis can burn between 400-600 calories an hour. That’s not bad for a recreational sport that’s both fun and can be played by just about anyone.
Improves bone health: Playing tennis isn’t good for your muscles alone, it has a positive impact on your bones as well. Bone mass peaks around age 30 and begins to decline after that. You can maximize your bone mass prior to that age through exercise, and continuing to exercise after 30 can slow the rate of bone loss. Tennis is one of the weight-bearing activities well suited to building strong bones.
Heart healthy: Tennis great Bjorn Borg accurately characterized a tennis match as “a thousand little sprints.” The quick anaerobic movements the sport demands burns fat, increases your heart rate and promotes higher energy levels. A typical tennis match can last anywhere from one to two hours and at intervals that are optimal for improving cardiovascular health, which is essential for lowering your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Enhances flexibility, balance and coordination: Tennis requires the cooperation of the whole body. The feet manoeuvre you into the right position, the arms and hands position the racquet to make contact with the ball, and the torso and legs provide the power to send the ball flying over the net. All these factors come together every time you hit the ball, and each shot takes flexibility, coordination and balance. Flexibility is great because it can give you a wider range of motion, help prevent injuries and even reduce muscle strain.
Boosts brain power: Tennis requires the brain to be creative, and it involves planning, tactical thinking, agility and the coordination of different parts of the body. Studies show that exercises that require a lot of thinking, such as tennis, can actually improve brain function in ways that aid memory, learning, social skills and behaviour.
Is great cross-training for other sports: Tennis involves quick-fire changes of direction at top speed as you race around the court to return serves and volleys. Playing tennis is a great way to speed up your sprinting and work on your endurance.