Playing tennis can provide a full body workout that few other pastimes can match. It exercises the body as well as the mind in each session. While there is some skill required to play this sport well, it is still one that can be enjoyable regardless of skill level. Nonetheless, few people really understand how beneficial it can be to play on a regular basis.
Did Someone Say Cardio?
The physical benefits of tennis to the human body are perhaps easier to explain than the game’s mental and emotional benefits. When playing tennis, you must move quickly and decisively with your legs, arms and core. The sport is fast paced, so the necessary movement is almost constant; this creates a heart-healthy full cardiovascular workout. When the body reaches and maintains an elevated heart rate it also burns more calories than it normally would. In fact, playing tennis actually burns more calories than many more traditional forms of exercise like cycling.
An Intense Workout is All Part of the Game
Reducing calorie load with exercises like tennis can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. It can also help you improve your overall health, including that of your heart, lungs and muscles. Players who play tennis vigorously three times a week for a minimum of forty-five minutes each session should expect to see physical improvements in their physique as well. The thighs, shoulders and abs are given particularly intense workouts, and therefore improvements should be particularly noticeable in those areas – especially when your tennis games are combined with a nutritious diet.
Sharpening the Mind
Some professionals have even suggested that playing tennis promotes healthy brain function. This is due to the constant quick thought processes required of players during the game. A study performed by Dr. Joan Finn and her colleagues at Southern Connecticut State University also found that playing tennis can also have a positive effect on personality traits. This might be due to the social aspect of the sport, as well as the discipline required to improve. Tennis players scored better in vigor, optimism and self-esteem when compared to other athletes and non-athletes.
Get it All Out
Tennis also helps to reduce the daily stress that many people of all ages carry. This benefit may be mental and subconscious to some degree, but it is also caused by the creation of serotonin during exercise. Dr. Finn’s study also found that tennis players displayed a reduction in signs of depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension.
Improvements Beyond the Court
Playing tennis can also help boost your confidence levels. The book Motivational Traits of Elite Junior Tennis Players, written by tennis coach Brian Ruffner, describes improved performance during class for students who played tennis. Ruffner even noted improved attendance and graduation rates for both high school and college students. Adults of all ages can still benefit from the improved confidence tennis provides, regardless of their personal situation.
Tennis is one of the best sports you can play to improve and maintain the overall health of your body. It can give the mind a much-needed dose of confidence and lower the mental burden of stress, while also helping improve your level of physical fitness. Overall this favorite pastime of many around the globe might be the perfect way to improve your well-being in every area.
Charles is a freelance sports writer with a penchant for all things tennis. His articles appear on various online sports publications.