Tennis is one of the most unique sports on the planet, because it can be played by people of virtually any age and skill level. Playing tennis also offers a wide range of health benefits as well. Below are five amazing things that playing tennis can do for your body.
1. Strengthens cardiovascular health
Tennis is officially classified as an anaerobic activity, which means that it requires short bursts of high-intensity movements on a frequent basis. This places unique demands on your heart, exercising it in a manner similar to interval training.
The high-intensity component of tennis is the shuffling and lunging around the court to return shots, while the rest happens in the 30 or so seconds between points. This mix of high-intensity and low-intensity training will strengthen your cardiovascular system, which will help reduce stress, lower cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease.
2. Improves balance and coordination
When you begin to play tennis on a regular basis, one of the first things you'll notice is that your balance and coordination will begin to improve. You'll feel more in control of your own movements, and your senses will be more keen. This happens because tennis requires your entire body to work together as one unit in order to play proficiently. Your eyes are responsible for following the ball's movement, your feet and legs are responsible for getting you to the ball and your arms and torso are used to swing the racquet and make contact with the ball. There's hardly a part of your body that isn't in use in some type of way when you're playing an active game of tennis.
As you practice your strokes, what you're doing is training your body to perform synchronized and controlled movements, which gives you greater body awareness overall. The great thing about it is that the more you play, the more centered and in control of your body you will feel!
3. Boosts brain function
Your brain is highly involved and engaged when you're playing tennis. As you perform the repetitive motions of an average game of tennis, you're actually developing important neural connections in your brain that will help you progressively improve your skills.
Tennis is also a highly tactical game, requiring forethought as well as quick mental responses to somewhat unstructured situations. The mental demands of tennis actually work to improve brain function; not only will you stimulate those neural connections in your brain, but you can actually develop new neurons as you apply strategy, planning and quick reaction time to your tennis game.
4. Burns calories
Tennis requires you to constantly stay on the move, and the more you move, the more calories you burn. Playing a relatively intense game of tennis will burn roughly 600 calories per hour, a higher average than other popular physical activities such as cycling, volleyball or dancing.
Several studies have shown that playing tennis on a regular basis can help to reduce your body fat, a definite plus for someone looking to lose weight while actually having fun doing it. The average person will need to burn about 3,500 calories in order to lose one pound of fat, so playing three to four hours of tennis a week will help you lose roughly half a pound per week. It will also do wonders toward revving up your basal metabolic rate, enabling you to burn more calories even when you're off the court.
5. Promotes bone health
Most of us are aware that inactivity is one of the biggest contributing factors to bone problems such as osteoporosis (brittle bones). Playing tennis on a regular basis will help increase your peak bone mass, and it can slow the rate of bone loss for people over 30 years old. In addition, as you continue to play tennis, you'll improve your overall strength and coordination, which will help prevent falls that could potentially cause injury or broken bones.
If you're looking for a sport or activity that can benefit your entire body, tennis is one of your best bets. Whether you decide to play competitively or for casual recreation, tennis will provide you with plenty of important benefits that will have a lasting positive impact on your physical health.