No matter whether you play once a week or train every day playing tennis is a fantastic sport to help keep you healthy and in shape. Tennis requires the perfect mix of cardiovascular fitness coupled with muscular strength. In addition to this tennis is a sport that uses your full body not just specific muscles, meaning you need a greater level of general fitness.
The Copenhagen City Heart Study took a look at participants over a 25 year period to examine how various sports and leisure activities can increase an individual’s lifespan. Throughout this study, various sports were analyzed to see whether they can increase someone’s life expectancy, and tennis came out on top. The results suggest that tennis can add almost 10 years to someone’s lifespan, 3.5 years more than the next closest sport, badminton.
In case that wasn’t enough to make you consider picking up a racquet, we’ve outlined some of the key physical benefits of playing tennis.
Full body workout
Tennis is different from certain sports as it is an excellent way to work your whole body at the same time. It requires a high level of activity from your lower body to get around the court quickly, while the action of hitting the ball works the majority of your upper body and trunk. Tennis is relatively unique in the fact that it uses your full body in a relatively equal proportion and doesn’t just focus on one muscle group.
Due to the fact that you are constantly running around the court, swinging for shots, and using your whole body throughout a match, tennis is a fantastic way to burn calories and fat. While it’s impossible to be exact when working out how many calories you burned while playing tennis, Livestrong estimates that an hour of singles tennis can burn approximately 400-500 calories. Burning calories is key for those who are looking to lose weight and reduce body fat, it’s widely believed that you must burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. Therefore, playing an average of 1 hour of tennis a day would result in losing around 1 pound of fat a week.
Improved flexibility, agility, and balance
Once again because tennis is a full-body workout it is a brilliant way to help improve key physical attributes such as flexibility, agility, and balance. The wide range of motion required to get around the court and reach the more difficult shots requires a high level of agility. While the actual act of returning a shot enhances flexibility throughout your body. Finally, while moving around the court you will find yourself stopping and pivoting regularly to follow the flight of the ball. This requires players to have excellent balance to ensure they get a good connection when returning a shot.
Tennis is a sport that is played at an extremely high intensity for a long period of time. It is often classified as an endurance sport due to the sheer length of time a match can take, however, a match is made up of numerous smaller intervals of exercise which each point requiring a number of short sprints. These short sharp movements are ideal for improving your cardiovascular health as they quickly increase your heart rate and promote higher energy levels.
Not only does tennis promote cardiovascular fitness but it also aids muscle development and combines a high level of strength training. As we have mentioned multiple times throughout this post tennis is a full-body workout, helping to build muscle and improve strength in your legs, arms, and upper body. On top of this, you are not just working the same set of muscles in a static and repetitive way, as it the case with most strength training programs. Players are constantly moving around the court which works multiple muscles in your legs and the motion required when playing a shot works your upper body.
For more of our top tips on how to improve the physical side of your game be sure to get out the Tennisletics blog.