May 2022 | By Vivienne Singer
Looking for a full-body workout that doesn’t require a trip to the gym? Consider tennis. Swinging the racket provides great exercise for the arms. Running back and forth across the court works your leg muscles. And your core gets a great workout, too, as you need to engage your abdominals to avoid wiping out when lunging for the ball!
Tennis also helps to improve blood flow, which sends oxygen to the brain, muscles, and organs, and helps to reduce fatigue and boost energy – but wait, there’s more.
In addition to these physical benefits:
Tennis requires more than physical agility. It’s a strategy game. You need to think quickly and tactically, anticipate your partner’s next move, and respond within a matter of seconds. This forces you to flex your mental muscles, which helps to prevent cognitive decline.
That’s a fact based on a 2018 study that found tennis added nearly 9.7 years to the lifespan of its 8,577 participants, versus jogging, which added only 3.1 years.
Whether you’re playing at a public court with a friend or your club has paired you with a fellow member, expect some good conversation. Friendly banter is part of the culture, before and after the match, as well as in between serves.
If you’re not feeling social, play against a ball machine. If you don’t belong to a club that owns one, consider investing in your own (space permitting). With some machines, you can adjust the speed, increasing it over time as you become more proficient at the game.
Unless Wimbledon is calling, you’re not in the game to win trophies. You’re in it to have fun while doing something that is good for your physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Whether you’re 15, 50, or 85, find a partner that’s interested in playing at the same pace as you. It could even be someone decades older or younger. In fact, what a great way to bond with a grandchild!
First, a few words about safety.
While tennis poses fewer risks than other sports, the game can put significant stress on the ankles, knees, wrists, and elbows. To minimize your chances of being injured, hire a professional to teach you the proper technique. Take some time to warm up and cool down before and after playing. Rest between matches; overexertion isn’t good for anyone. And make sure you’re fully recovered from any past injuries before putting those body parts to work again.
Game, set, match.