If you are looking for a full body sport that is perfect to uptake during this period of lockdown, look no further than tennis! For some, the idea of spending hours lifting weights, or running the treadmill is not appealing. Luckily, hitting the gym is not the only way to get into shape.
Written by Winnie Liu
Tennis is a universally accessible sport that requires only a racket and ball. And for those who have never played the game before, getting a friend or colleague to join your pursuits makes it more interesting. You can also look online for partners to play with you. But do make sure to be properly warmed up before each game, as well as staying hydrated throughout, and avoid wet, slippery outdoor courts.
Read on to find out why tennis is one of the best sports for people of all ages who want to get healthier!
Full body exercise
Research shows that full body workouts are more effective for improving shape, unlike some sports which tend to isolate certain body parts, for example, football, which does not require as much upper body work. In serving the ball in tennis, the upper body is used, and in running, jumping and crouching stances, the upper body. Likewise, the lower half of the body faces frequent pivoting and twisting.
Improved anaerobic and aerobic capacity
What is interesting about tennis is that is incorporates both anaerobic and aerobic activity. Explosive movements such as sprinting when the ball goes out of bounds, boosts anaerobic health. There is the saying that tennis is 80% fitness and 20% technique, and this is due very much to the sport’s needs for endurance. Tennis matches as you may well know, tend to last a couple hours at best and so it increases your aerobic capacity. At every oxygen intake, your heart rate increases to provide for your muscles, by delivering nutrients and oxygen efficiently.
With the combination of activity, you are bound to face a higher calorie burn for your workout. Even just walking and running around the court, and as with most physical activity, you will burn more calories after the match is over – (EPOC) excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Improved balance, flexibility and coordination
Tennis itself is a weight bearing exercise, and so maintains the strength of your bones. It is well known that bone mass density peaks at around age 18 for women, and age 20 for men, so unless you are fully working out your whole body, you may face increased risk of problems related to low bone mass. On top of it all, coordination and flexibility do a great amount to helping you in your game, as do footwork, and balance because it involves a lot of bending and reaching. Thus, tennis is a great sport for seniors, as well as all ages, who want to maintain strength and independence.
In term of psychological benefits, scientists believe that tennis has been proven to increase mood as with its release of endorphins over time. Endorphins give an invigorating feeling and are thought to relieve one from stress and pain naturally. Serotonin on the other hand can aid with better sleep, and appetite. Playing tennis may lead you to feeling great overall, with enhanced self-confidence, less depression, and increased mental alertness. Besides this, there are social benefits to tennis, as just about anybody, can play. It can also assist socially inhibited people to meet new friends from all walks of life. This melting pot of physical and emotional benefits can bring families and friendship bonds closer together.
So there are plenty of incentives as to why you should head to your nearest local clubs or courts, pick up a racket and start playing!
Featured image: © Wikimedia Commons