Body Buzz: Anyone For Tennis?
by Sasha Kanal
If you’re looking for a complete mind and body workout, within a fun and sociable environment, then tennis might just be the sport for you. Sasha Kanal explains further.
Official tennis season is fast approaching and with it the excitement of traditional British tournaments such as Wimbledon and Eastbourne. It’s easy to be inspired to get out there and play when watching the professionals do their stuff (and the sun is shining!), but there’s so much more to this great sport than fair-weather play. Tennis is in many respects the ultimate workout for the human body and here’s why:
AEROBIC AND ANAEROBIC HEALTH
Oxygen intake is increased when you play which in turn increases your heart rate and helps the blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This aids the increase in capillaries within the muscles so they have a greater blood supply and ow. All good!
FULL BODY WORKOUT
If you think about the movement involved in a game of tennis, the lower body is used for running, stopping and starting as well as jumping and crouching. Then you have the action of hitting the ball either single or double handed which means your core and torso does a lot of work, as well as your shoulders and upper back.
When you play a game of tennis, you are almost constantly on the move, which means it’s a great way of burning calories (reportedly between 400-600 calories an hour in a singles game!).
Regular exercise increases peak bone mass and tennis is no exception. After the age of thirty we experience a natural decline in our bone density but this can be slowed through regular exercise. Tennis is a great weight-bearing exercise proven to build stronger bones.
BALANCE AND COORDINATION
A lot of simultaneous actions take place when playing tennis. Balance is key as well as the ability to manoeuvre yourself into the correct position to make contact with the ball. Do this regularly and you will see a huge improvement in your flexibility and coordination.
ALL IN THE MIND
Doing all of the above, requires planning, strategic thinking and creativity on the part of our brains. So, the more you play, the better the grey matter becomes at doing this. Building neural connections of any kind in our brains can help aid memory and learning.
We are lucky to have so many wonderful tennis clubs here in Sussex with beautiful grounds and facilities often offering classes and groups in which to hone skills and get out on the court. Classes are always a good way to meet new people and the game of doubles itself requires a lot of communication between players on the same team which can be a lot of fun!
Many clubs offer classes for all ages and free taster weekends during the summer months. There’s also the potential for small group and one to one tuition at many establishments.
If you don’t want to go down this route, all you need is a racket and someone to play with and you can head down to many of the municipal village and town courts for a small fee. A simple knockabout around the court is also a brilliant way to get moving, especially you are unsure of the rules of the game. Enjoy!
CAUTION: If you have any long-standing health concerns, always consult your GP if you’re starting a new exercise.