The health benefits of playing tennis are pretty extensive. Tennis is undoubtedly one of the greatest sport choices you could make to look out for yourself – especially as you age.
I’ve been playing for a number of years and plan on playing well into my more ‘mature’ days. I like to think of tennis as a secret weapon as I age.
I can’t fathom tennis not being part of my life.
In fact, did you know that a study involving 80,000 people states that those who play racket sports have a 47% lower risk of death?
Tennis is a sport that’s sure to keep your heart, mind, and whole body going.
For those of you who may need to be convinced of the many benefits of tennis, here are 5 of the most notable health benefits of playing tennis.
#1 Playing Tennis Supports Cardiovascular Health
Generally speaking, tennis places great demands on the cardiovascular system. Not surprisingly, these demands are higher when playing singles tennis as compared to doubles.
Higher demands, in this case, also means an increase in your fitness. Tennis increases oxygen intake while simultaneously raising your heart rate.
It’s a great option for when you’re looking for a full-body workout that’s going to help decrease your chances of health issues as you age.
The Science Behind Tennis and Cardiovascular Health
Tennis is both an aerobic and anaerobic activity, meaning that your heart will constantly be working to transport nutrients, oxygen, and remove waste products from your body.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, all the constant running to chase that tennis ball puts you a step closer to achieving an athlete’s heart.
Follow rigorous play with sufficient rest, your tennis racket could be the key to prevent death from cardiovascular diseases.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, one of the benefits of tennis is it helps maintain the maximum heart rate criteria recommended for aerobic conditioning.
Putting this in simpler terms, tennis players have lower risks of heart disease, specifically hypertension (increased blood pressure) and coronary heart disease.
An important thing to remember though, is that playing tennis does not mean you’re immune to a risk of heart disease or other problems regarding cardiovascular health.
Nonetheless, playing tennis regularly does improve your overall heart rate and heart health!
#2 Playing Tennis Aids in Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, consuming fewer calories than you burn is key!
Tennis is an effective way to lose weight, reduce body fat, and bring that self-esteem of yours through the roof.
This sport demands intense bursts of energy along with endurance in long rallies.
Pairing tennis with healthy eating habits could only result in improvements in weight loss and the development of your muscles.
#3 Playing Tennis Enhances Motor Control
Tennis is a sport that requires range of motion, strength, motor control, power, and agility.
Every time you play tennis – whether hitting with a friend, taking a clinic, or seriously competing – you’re moving across the court chasing tennis balls.
Once you get to a ball, you’ve got to make contact it. Hand-eye coordination will be at play.
Having to move toward the ball and make contact with it is using key motor control activities. You either use it or lose it.
I want to age with all my faculties so tennis will be part of my routine for years to come.
Balance is Key
Balance is one of the most important qualities when we’re talking about activities that require a lot of movement like tennis does.
Improving balance translates to having a lower risk of injuries.
As you age, being steady on your feet can easily reduce the risks of a fall.
Learning how to use your muscles in such a way where balance is practiced improves your overall posture, strength, and reduces your chances of getting arthritis, back pain, and other conditions.
Agility is an important quality that most tennis players possess.
Agility is what allows humans to move and make quick direction changes.
Tennis involves lots of quick movements and adjustments which helps develop better agility skills.
#4 Playing Tennis Improves Brain Power
Would you believe me if I said that sports could make you a lot smarter?
Well, you should.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “the brain is the seat of intelligence, interpreter of senses, initiator of body movement, and controller of behavior”.
Tennis helps your brain to plan, form new connections, and program tactical thinking.
The more active one is, the more neural connections are created—neurons may also be developed as one continues to play tennis.
Playing tennis improves brain development. It aids in memory and further learning.
Physical activities have been proven to boost mind connectivity and help the brain recall and recreate similar memories.
In fact, findings show that cognitive decline and memory loss have been observed in those who only engage in low levels of physical activity.
Decision Making Skills in Play
Aerobic activities such as playing tennis have also been proven to have great effects on cognitive abilities like tactical thinking.
Think of a common tennis scenario:
- You’re up at the net and a ball is coming your way – almost in the center of your body.
- Hitting a volley is the first response. But since it’s coming toward the middle of your body, will you hit a forehand or backhand volley?
- Where will you hit the ball directionally? Will you angle the shot down the line, cross court, directly at your opponent?
Decisions like these must be made quickly. And your hand-eye coordination must be on point while doing so.
There isn’t a lot of time to make further decisions once the ball is in contact with your racket.
Playing and practicing tennis enhances your ability to think rationally and strategically—sometimes without you even realizing it.
#5 Playing Tennis Provides Social Interaction
People love being around the company of others, it’s simply how the brain works. As studies like to say it, loneliness is a killer.
Most humans thrive when in the company of others.
Sharing time. Creating memories. We tend to be happier when being social.
Tennis can be competitive, but there’s a social aspect to it that’s very rewarding.
Better State of Mental Health
Playing, not just winning, just feels good! Including activities in your life that make you feel good always improves mental health.
These are important neurotransmitters that aid in a human’s overall behavior.
Social Engagement Improves Physical Health
Furthermore, social engagement has also been associated with better physicality.
Socializing while playing tennis improves bone health and bone density rates. It also promotes a fixed sleep cycle, and a stronger immune system.
Adding a tennis community to your life brings on a whole new social circle!
5 health benefits of playing tennis have been indicated, but that doesn’t mean the tennis benefits stop there.
No matter if you’re playing a singles or doubles match, the advantages of tennis will always be present.
Make sure to consult with your doctor to figure out the pace best suited for your body.