Summer is in full swing, and you’re ready for some sun, fresh air, exercise and responsible social distancing. Why not give tennis a try? Besides being a fun activity you can enjoy with friends and family, tennis comes with some major health perks. Pick up a racket and start racking up the benefits of tennis today.
5 Health Benefits of Tennis
1. Tones and sculpts muscles
Tennis is a complete strength training workout (the original cross-training!) that will strengthen and tone all muscle groups by engaging the entire body. Squatting, jumping and moving side to side and back and forth strengthens and tones muscles in your lower body, thighs, calves and glutes. Power swings help sculpt your shoulders, upper back, arms and torso thanks to all of the twisting. Another bonus for the body: tennis is a weight bearing exercise, which means you are working against gravity, which is excellent for bone strength.
2. Supports a healthy heart
With a continuous series of quick sprints and fast movements, tennis will get your heart rate elevated and cardio working in no time. This increased heart rate will pump oxygen and nutrients more efficiently into your muscles and really get the blood flowing. And as you continue to play tennis over time, your resting heart rate and blood pressure can be lowered, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Burns fat and calories
Imagine burning an average of 400 to 600 calories an hour (typically tennis is played for 1 to 2 hours) while also having fun! With constant fast moving and directional changes, it’s no wonder your body is burning this many calories. However, don’t cheat yourself by not taking your match seriously or playing improperly. Playing tennis can burn more calories and body fat compared to other (less fun) aerobic exercises.
4. Improves balance, flexibility, coordination
It takes coordination to move your entire body at once while quickly moving in different directions. Good coordination includes having strong balance as well as flexibility. Reaching for the ball and taking shots to match the pace of a game all improve your coordination while increasing flexibility and balance, lowering your risk of injury in all activities.
6. Promotes brain power and mental health
Tennis requires anticipating your opponents oncoming shots as well as strategizing, and this means brain power. Learning shot patterns, using quick thinking and planning all stimulate your brain with creative and tactical thinking. There is also the mind-body connection that is needed in tennis; it may even enhance your mental awareness. As with other forms of exercise, tennis can release those feel-good endorphins lifting your mood, helping you feel energized and happy. Another added bonus, tennis is a social game, combating feelings of loneness and expanding your friend group.
Beginner tips for getting started
- Have the right gear: proper tennis shoes, socks, visor, eyewear, sunscreen, racket, balls, small towel for sweat.
- If you’re just getting started, there’s no need to invest in a top-of-the-line racket. Try a used sporting goods store or online market. You can always trade up as you improve.
- Take a lesson or two. This can help with the basics, how to hold the racket, proper swing technique and foot placement.
- Stretch before and after.
- Properly hydrate 60 minutes before playing; during play, add electrolytes to your water.