Whether you are playing competitively, for your health or just for fun, tennis has great benefits for the mind and body. Here are some ways that taking up a racquet and hitting the court can have positive impacts on your health.
- Decrease your risk of heart disease. Lowering your blood pressure, maintaining a healthy body weight, lowering cholesterol, reducing stress and being physically active are key to helping reduce your risk of heart disease – and playing tennis can help you accomplish all these things. An average-sized man burns around 600 calories playing just one hour of singles tennis (425 calories for doubles) and the average woman burns 420 calories playing singles (330 playing doubles).
- Enhance your flexibility, coordination and balance. Tennis is a sport that requires the cooperation of your whole body. Your feet maneuver you into the right position, your arms and hands position the racquet to make contact with the ball, and your torso and legs provide the power to send the ball flying over the net. All these factors come together every time you hit the ball, and each shot takes flexibility, coordination and balance.
- Boost your brain power. Tennis requires your brain to be creative, and it involves planning, tactical thinking, agility and the coordination of different parts of your body. So the more you play tennis, the better and stronger the neural connections related to those types of activities become, and the better you become at them. Studies show that exercises that require a lot of thinking – such as tennis – can actually improve brain function in ways that aid memory, learning, social skills and behavior.
- Improve your bone health. Exercising regularly can increase your peak bone mass and can slow the rate of bone mass loss over time. Tennis also improves coordination, flexibility and muscle strength, which can help prevent falls and injuries that can damage fragile bones.
- Lose weight. Running, swinging, reaching, pivoting – tennis can be a real workout. In fact, for many people, playing tennis can actually burn more calories than other popular types of physical activity, including leisurely cycling, weightlifting, golfing or playing volleyball. As a result, playing tennis can help reduce body fat.
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