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What are the 10 ways playing tennis makes you healthier and happier?

Friday 07 July 2017

Reading time: 3 minutes

Inspired by Wimbledon? Here’s why you should keep picking up the racket long after the trophies are lifted.
Sheffield Hallam students playing tennis

As Wimbledon draws to a climax, tennis courts across the country are full of budding Andy Murrays or Johanna Kontas. But you don’t have to compete at the highest level to feel the benefits of playing tennis.

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that playing racket sports significantly reduces the risk of death from heart disease. And that’s not all.

Here are 10 reasons to keep playing tennis long after the Wimbledon trophies have been lifted.

1. You get a full body workout

Whether playing singles, doubles or hitting the ball against a wall, tennis is a full body workout. Swinging the racket works the muscles of your arms, shoulders, back and core. You use the muscles of your lower body to run, jump, crouch and move on the spot.

2. It reduces the risk of a heart attack

Tennis demands continuous movement – even while standing on the spot. Your heart rate increases to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. This improves your aerobic fitness and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

3. You improve your stamina

Tennis is a fast-paced sport. The average rally lasts for 5–7 seconds and you have to sprint for the ball. Working at a high intensity for short periods like this improves your anaerobic capacity – which means you can make explosive movements without getting tired as quickly.

A Sheffield Hallam student preparing for a game of tennis

4. It tones muscles all over your body

Repeatedly performing forehands and backhands will tone your muscles in your upper body and the core. And bounding and jumping will tone your muscles in your lower body.

5. You’ll lose weight

If you’re trying to lose weight, tennis can help. You can cover a distance of up to 5 miles in an hour-long match. That means burning around 600 calories. Just hold off on the strawberries and cream afterwards!

6. It’s good for your bones

Research shows that tennis players have stronger bones than people who don’t play racket sports. The impact of hitting the ball, stopping and bounding improves your bone density – which can prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones) later in life.

7. You’ll improve your balance

Not falling over while moving requires good dynamic balance. In tennis, you have to reach and stretch while holding the racket to use your full range of motion. And if you have good balance, then you’re less likely to fall over.

Sheffield Hallam students playing tennis

8. It makes you agile

In a typical tennis point you can change direction up to five times in just 10 seconds. So the more you play tennis, the more agile you’ll become.

9. It makes you react faster

In tennis you have to react fast to where your opponent is moving, and judge the timing between the oncoming ball and where it’s going to land. In other words, it’s a great workout for your hand-eye coordination.

10. You could improve your mental health

Tennis is a tactical sport that requires planning and thinking – great brain training. And playing a game releases the feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which can improve your mental health, reduce stress and lower your risk of conditions like depression.

Tennis is suitable for all ages and abilities. No matter what your skill level, you can always find an opponent for a bit of friendly competition. Go to the British Tennis website and find your nearest court today.

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