9 Health Benefits of Playing Tennis
America's favorite racket sport is a great option for your health. Tennis, a full-body workout, involves multiple organ systems and muscle groups.
It's sure to get your heart racing, your quads and hamstrings soaring, and your competitive side kicking in, all while spending time outdoors with a friend.
Additionally, tennis is a social distancing sport that you can play safely during the COVID-19.1 pandemic.
Here are nine physical (and mental) health benefits of tennis for people of all ages.
Supports cardiovascular health
Any type of aerobic activity strengthens the heart. Jumping for the perfect swing, running around the court, and chasing balls out of control are some of the activities that increase your heart rate while playing tennis.
As your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes deeper and faster, increasing the flow of oxygen and blood throughout your body, all of which contribute to a stronger cardiovascular system.
A 2017 study found that participation in racquet sports was linked to a 56% reduction in deaths from cardiovascular disease (and a 47% reduction in the risk of death from any cause)
Helps to lose weight
Aerobic exercise through tennis not only protects your heart, it can also help you lose weight, if that's your personal goal.
In a 2012 study, researchers found that obese men and women who added aerobic exercise to their routine five days a week lost a significant amount of weight in 10 months, even when they made no changes to their diets.
Depending on your weight and the intensity of your game, you can burn a few hundred calories per hour playing tennis.
Combine this activity with a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight.
Increase range of motion.
The wide movements of tennis, such as swinging and stretching, are a great way to increase your range of motion.
These dynamic stretching movements lubricate the joints and strengthen the muscles and tendons. However, if you are just starting out on the court, it is smart to work on these movements to avoid injury.
"Before your tennis match, a warm-up is important to reduce your risk of injury and improve your performance," says registered kinesiologist and functional movement specialist Marian Barnick.
“Move your joints in their normal range of motion (without stretching) so that the blood flows to the muscles you will be using on the court; especially the shoulders, knees, and thoracic spine.
A series of controlled repetitions that mimic your movements on the court is the best way to prepare your body. "
Good balance is essential in tennis (at least if you're not going to fall every time you lean into a backhand). When you use a racket, you are training your body for balance by hitting and serving with a 60cm arm extension.
Lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone cannot keep up with the deterioration of old bone, which causes the bones to break more easily. This condition most often affects women, and their risk increases with age.
While you might think that exercise would increase your risk of fractures, the opposite is actually the case. According to the National Institutes of Health, many types of exercise help prevent osteoporosis, especially weight lifting exercises.
In tennis, every time you raise the racket, you are working against gravity. This force exerted on your bones helps them get stronger.
Who wouldn't want to be more agile? The sophisticated footwork of tennis can help you relax.
"Tennis is not a straight-line sport," says Barnick. “Players have to cover the court, which requires forward and backward movement patterns, side by side and diagonally.
Tennis players often change direction, stop and start, and speed up and slow down. They also need to shift their upright position to low balls, as well as overhead volleys and serves. "
According to Barnick, this constant change of movement in tennis trains the body and brain to adapt more quickly.
Improves motor control
"Motor control is awareness and the ability to stabilize one part of the body while another part of the body moves," says Barnick. Tennis moves can uniquely support this area of fitness.
“In tennis, motor control is necessary when you move your arm to swing the racket. At the same time, your core muscles stabilize your hips so you don't sag when you swing, ”says Barnick.
It's not just your arms and legs that can best coordinate with racquet sports. Body rotation, stopping and starting, and the reach and balance that tennis requires can also stabilize your core.
"[Tennis] develops the core in more ways than just posture exercises or abdominal routines," says Barnick.
Increase exposure to vitamin D
Getting adequate vitamin D has been linked to a stronger immune system, better heart health, and a lower risk of cancer.11
Your vitamin D level may even be linked to your risk of complications with COVID-19 (although more research is needed to draw firm conclusions). Still, many people are deficient in this critical nutrient.
The more you play tennis outdoors, the more likely you are to absorb vitamin D from sun exposure. Some studies have shown that the body receives most of its vitamin D from sunlight around noon, so consider scheduling your outing for noon, as long as it's not too hot at that time.
Don't forget to wear sunscreen! Too much UV radiation from sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.
Provides social interaction
As everyone knows, you cannot play tennis alone. Throwing the ball back and forth requires a partner. The benefits of playing with another person are twofold.
Your mental health will increase with social interaction with the other player. Studies show that face-to-face social contact reduces the risk of depression, particularly among older adults.
The social aspect of a tennis match with a friend can also affect your physical health. The research linked social isolation with hypertension, cancer, an increased risk of mortality from heart disease, and other health risks. Going on the court with a friend can help you have a greater sense of community and less feelings of isolation.
Enjoy Watching This Video About Tennis
Source: Health Benefits
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