Tennis is a very popular sport all over the world, but did you know it can help save your life? According to a study conducted by Oxford University and researchers in both Australia and Finland, people who play tennis reduced their risk of death by 47% compared to people who did not exercise. This study was conducted for an average of 9 years on more than 80,000 people. So it's safe to assume that while all sports improve your lifespan, tennis takes the lead, with swimming reducing the chance of death by 28%, aerobics by 27%, and cycling by 15%.
Tennis is played by people of all ages and skill levels. You can play it in 2 (playing singles) or 4 (doubles), and if you start early, you can even consider it as a career and not just a fun workout. But, if you are currently looking for a form of exercise that you can expect many benefits from, tennis is the one for you. Playing tennis for one hour helps you burn about 600 calories, which makes the sport as effective as cycling or jogging. But the difference is that tennis helps you challenge both your mind and your body. While your body gets a good workout out of the game, your mind is occupied by the short-term goals such as reaching the yellow ball in time, which makes this complex sport very rewarding.
What makes Tennis special?
1. Cardiovascular Health
Tennis helps increase your heart rate by pumping oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Because it demands a series of quick sprints in the time you spend playing the game, it improves your aerobic capacities and enables your muscles to make better use of the oxygen they get. This means that you will fatigue slower and perform at higher levels. If you play tennis frequently, you will significantly lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure, which lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease, and heart attack.
2. Muscle Development
A game of tennis provides you with efficient strength training in your legs, arms and your upper body. When you play tennis, you move from side to side, up and back, you vary the speed and this way exercise a variety of muscles. The inherent movements you use in a typical match will help you improve your forearm strength, core development, and tone your back muscles. Your entire body must work together to play the game, so this helps improve your coordination and increase your balance and flexibility. This means that you benefit from a reduced risk of injuries and enhanced range of motion.
3. Tactical Skills
Tennis is heavily based on physics and geometry. This can help you develop your tactical thinking as efficiently as a game of chess would. When you play tennis, you must activate your alertness and tactical thinking in order to develop shot patterns. This stimulates your brain to generate new connections between the nerves. If you dedicate yourself to playing tennis frequently, you can not only improve but actually maintain brain development, to keep you alert and sharp well into your golden years.
You can play tennis as a recreational activity with your family and friends, or as a form of workout. It's a great sport with fast movements and strategic gameplay that help you maintain your health, fitness, agility, and strength. But there's more that you can benefit from other than tactical skills, muscular development, and cardiovascular health:
- increased aerobic capacities
- lower blood pressure
- improved metabolic function
- increased bone density
- reduced body fat
- improved muscle tone
- enhanced coordination
- increased reaction times
- reduced stress
- enhanced balance and flexibility
Furthermore, tennis is a non-impact sport that you can use as an opportunity to meet new people or to actively spend time with your friends. It's suitable for people of all ages, regardless of experience and skill levels. You can always find someone at your level to play and have fun with. It is not a sport dependent on your youth or strength, you can start playing anytime and the best thing about it is that it's so popular that is played in most parts of the world, so you can always find a tennis court in your social game's community. All you need is a racquet, a ball, a court with a net, and a worthy opponent. Of course, if you can't always have a partner, you can simply practice your skills by hitting your tennis ball against a wall.
If you incorporate this sport into your exercise routine, you will benefit from more than just physical improvements. A study conducted by the Southern Connecticut State University found that tennis players scored higher levels of optimism, vigor, and self-esteem while scoring lower for anxiety, depression, tension, and confusion. This means that tennis not only keeps you in shape mentally and physically, but it also keeps you emotionally balanced, motivated on your path and ready to overcome obstacles and challenges in your personal life.
If you've never played tennis before, but you are strongly considering it right now, make sure you talk to your doctor for professional advice if you have a preexisting illness or injury. Additionally, tennis is known to cause overuse injuries occasionally, due to the repetition of strokes, so make sure you play with proper form and technique, adjusted to your own fitness levels. Wear a good pair of elbow sleeves to make sure you protect your joints against ‘tennis elbow’. Don't overdo it and switch it up with other forms of exercise every now and then. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are a beginner:
- Play the game according to your age and physical condition.
- Warm-up your muscles before you hit the court.
- Play tennis as a social activity or to add variety to your exercise routine.
- Make sure you hydrate regularly during the match, so keep plenty of fluids at hand.
- Mix up your exercise routine with other low-impact sports, don't overdo it.
- Tennis is great to help you maintain your health, strength, agility, and fitness, with additional social, psychological, and cognitive benefits.
Play tennis to give your muscles a regular workout, improve your balance, flexibility, and cognitive skills. You will be healthier and feel better because tennis helps improve your mood. Try to play the game both recreationally and competitively to give both your body and mind an optimal workout and reap all the benefits tennis has to offer. This is a very rewarding game, so expect to feel good, look good, and do better with each match!