Take up Tennis for All These Health Benefits
The health benefits of playing tennis are often forgotten when compared to more traditional physical activities like running, swimming and cycling.
However, you might not realize that we can list at least ten top ways in which playing the game of tennis can help with your health.
How the game of tennis came about
Tennis is an adaption of a very ancient sport in France known as the Jeu de Paume – first appearing in England in the 1870s. Since then, tennis has become a major sport followed and played by millions throughout the world. Today, it is played on all kinds of surfaces.
The name of the game “tennis” comes from the French word “tenez!” (meaning “here it comes!”) which you said to your opponent as you were about to serve.
The first Wimbledon lawn tennis tournament was played in 1877 on grass. But other surfaces were quickly introduced. The end of the 19th century saw the introduction of clay, then hardwood flooring and, much later, the “hard” courts with concrete or acrylic surfaces.
Here are those top ten health benefits of tennis
- Full body workout. When you play tennis, it provides a great workout for the entire body because you run, you stop and start, you jump and you crouch – giving your trunk a lot of work to do especially your shoulders and upper back.
- Improved aerobic and anaerobic health. Playing tennis means we take in more oxygen, increasing our heart rate and helping our blood deliver oxygen and nutrients to all our muscles. Our muscles will also have a greater blood supply and flow so they perform at a higher level and fatigue at a slower rate. The game of tennis also helps maintain anaerobic health, allowing our muscles to use oxygen in a better way and provide quick energy spurts for explosive power and quick, reactive movements.
- Burns calories and fat. This whole body sport means you can burn a lot of calories when you are constantly on the move. For many, playing tennis can even burn more calories than other popular types of physical activity such as leisurely cycling, weight lifting, golfing, dancing or playing volleyball.
- Improves bone health. We all worry about our bone health so it is good to know that playing tennis has a positive impact on your bones as well. Exercising regularly can increase your peak bone mass and can slow the rate of bone mass loss over time. Our bone mass usually peaks around age thirty before starting to decline. If you can maximize your bone mass prior to that age through exercise, and continuing to exercise after thirty, you can slow the rate of bone loss. Tennis has been named as one of the weight-bearing activities and is good for building strong bones.
- Good for your heart health. All those quick bursts burn fat, increase your heart rate and promote higher energy levels.
- Enhances flexibility, balance and coordination. Tennis involves the whole body with the feet making sure you are in the right position; the arms and hands position the racquet to hit the ball; and the torso and legs give the power to send the ball flying in the right direction. Every part will come together every time you hit the ball incorporating balance and coordination. Flexibility will go on to give you a wider range of movement while helping to prevent injuries and even reduce muscle strain.
- Boosts brain power: Tennis is said to be based on geometry and physics, helping develop tactical thinking in much the same way as playing a game of chess. Then playing tennis also involves alertness and tactical thinking to develop shot patterns, generating new connections between nerves in the brain.
- Improves sprinting and endurance skills. This is because tennis involves quick-fire changes of direction at top speed, moving quickly to return serves and volleys. A tennis match can equate to three to five miles of action.
- Improves discipline and social skills. Tennis encourages discipline because the skills needed to master the game take patience, time and dedication while, having to interact with other players, helps improve social skills.
- Boosts mood. Tennis players are reputed to be more optimistic, have greater self-esteem and are less anxious, angry and depressed than people who play other sports or are sedentary. The better you become on the tennis court, the more you can expect improvements in other aspects of your life.
And tennis players often continue playing into their seventies and eighties, ensuring they age well and avoid those aches, pains – and worse – that can be the lot of their contemporaries who perhaps just sit on their sofas most of the time.
It is said that no other sport combines such an efficient package of health and other benefits than the sport of tennis.