With summer in full swing, tennis represents a great outlet for enjoying exercise with friends without physical contact. Tennis is an indiscriminate sport, played by all generations and genders, which offers a welcoming environment upon a foundation of camaraderie and sportsmanship. Here we take a look at some of the ways in which taking up tennis and its benefits to health and mental wellbeing.
First and foremost, playing tennis is a full-body workout that burns calories and strengthens muscles. Tennis involves running, jumping, stretching and quick pivots as the player chases the ball around the court. It is hard to imagine an area of the body that isn’t improved by this all-rounder sport with the actual action of hitting the ball also helping to strengthen shoulders and the upper body in general. By increasing oxygen intake, tennis improves both aerobic and anaerobic health by providing greater blood flow to muscles; slowing fatigue whilst also helping with quicker, reactive muscle movements. The simultaneous weight loss and muscle growth offered by tennis certainly represent a winning combination for any health fanatic.
The accumulation of little sprints doesn’t only help with speed out of the blocks but with endurance as the body adapts to intense movements every few seconds during a rally and over the course of an entire match. Novak Djokovic, for example, is renowned for his durability having emerged the victor in numerous marathon tennis matches (sometimes lasting over five hours) down the years which would test anyone’s energy reserves. Despite being 33, his status as 11/10 favorite in the tennis betting for the Australian Open underlines the age-defying physical benefits of being a committed tennis player. Although amateur players may struggle to match his ability to stretch and slide across the court with ease, it still highlights the benefits tennis can have in improving flexibility, coordination and balance at any relative level.
Tennis offers a huge boost to brainpower and creativity as the sport demands quick thinking and rapid shot selection. There’s no time for procrastination and decisions over where to strategically direct the ball must be taken in a split-second. Tennis has been shown to help form stronger neural connections and improve general brain function in areas such as memory and learning as it is trained to react quickly to evolving challenges on the court.
Whether playing Doubles or Singles, tennis is certainly a social activity helping people to build connections and relationships whatever their age group. For young players, tennis can help them to learn lessons in teamwork, discipline and respect for their opponent. Whilst for older players it can be a welcome source of interaction with other people who share similar interests. Unlike some sports which may be too fast-paced, tennis can be played for life with many of the older generation playing throughout their retirement.
Tennis has a myriad of benefits from physical aspects like bone health, weight loss and muscular development as well as mental aspects like improved cognitive function or increased well-being from spending time amongst friends and other people with a common interest. Tennis is a relatively simple sport to pick up and all you really need is a racket and ball. Your local tennis club awaits.