Tennis is having a moment in the sun in the age of social distancing. Tennis racquet sales have shot up and court schedules have filled out within the past year as people sought ways to work out with people they don’t happen to live with — but not too close, and definitely outside.
After years of shedding players faster than it could replace them, tennis is starting to grow as people recognize just how much they can gain by playing this full-body drill of a sport. Your legs, core, back, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, brain and everything else gets in on the act. So don’t miss out on all these benefits!
Cardio — All that running and jumping will definitely get your heart pumping and incorporates both endurance and high-intensity interval training.
Strength — A less-discussed aspect of the game, but nearly every muscle in the body is used by playing tennis, and the act of hitting a ball coming at you anywhere from 50-ish to 150 mph does test your strength.
Weight loss — The average person burns 300 to 500 calories an hour when practicing and hitting balls, and 550 to 750 calories in competitive play, according to CaptainCalculator.com, which analyzes activity and burned calories.
Range of motion — All the graceful swings and reaches involved in your game are fantastic ways to expand and maintain your range of motion in all directions, but remember to warm up first, especially when you’re just beginning to play the game.
Balance — Tennis requires dynamic balance, or holding your center of gravity, while moving in many different directions and while hitting the ball in a specific direction. Just staying on your feet during some of those reaches is an accomplishment in itself.
Osteoporosis prevention — Every weight-bearing exercise you do can strengthen your bones by training them to rebuild and be resilient. All that pounding on your legs and arms (within reason) is good for a lot of things, including the reduction of your risk for osteoporosis.
Agility — Tennis is not a straight-line activity. Being nimble on your feet as you move forward and backward, from side to side and into the air is as fundamental a skill for this sport as being able to hit the ball.
Motor control — Being able to hold some parts of your body still while others are moving, as in swinging the racquet, ensures you not only have control over your body but control of the ball, which is what keeps you competitive.
Vitamin D — With most matches played outdoors under the big blue sky, tennis’ moments in the sun also mean exposure to the sun, which triggers receptors contained in many of our cells to synthesize vitamin D, one of the most important nutrients for our bodies.
Social life — The other thing you need to play tennis is at least one other person to play with. Tennis requires and reinforces social connections, which are essential for your mental health.