The Life-Changing Benefits Of Playing Tennis
The beauty of tennis is it’s a sport you can enjoy throughout your entire life — and one that’s even been found to extend your life expectancy by nearly 10 years. It’s a great choice for boosting mental and physical development in growing kids (Serena Williams started at age three!), and equally beneficial as a social outlet for seniors looking to stay fit and sharp.
Very few can rival tennis as a lifetime sport. Thanks to the low-impact and non-contact nature of the game, it carries a low risk of injury and offers the unique opportunity to continue your skill mastery until an advanced age.
What’s all the racquet about playing a lifetime sport, you may ask? Essentially, you can keep your mind, muscles and social connections strong well into your golden years while also having fun. This ‘fun factor’ can be a true game changer for your health and fitness, since you’re much more likely to stick with a form of exercise you enjoy.
Let’s take a look at the other health benefits tennis serves up…
The wide-ranging benefits of tennis
Whatever your age or level of athleticism, tennis is an excellent full-body workout that releases feel-good endorphins to help you relax and relieve tension. Its low-impact nature also means your joints and bones will thank you.
Because tennis includes short bursts of activity, it offers the same conditioning benefits of interval training, which has an unparalleled positive effect on the heart and lungs, slashing your risk of heart disease by 56% (!). Just an hour of play burns between 400 to 600 calories.
“Tennis helps regulate serotonin — a brain chemical linked to functions such as sleep cycle, appetite and your emotional state. Having trouble sleeping or keeping your emotions in check? Hit the court!” says Arun Pant, CA’s director of junior tennis.
Other physical perks include:
- Improved aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- Strengthened muscles in your lower body, upper body and core
- Enhanced metabolic function
- Greater stamina
- Increase in bone density
- Strengthened immune system
- Decreased body fat
- Lower resting heart rate and blood pressure
- Improved balance, coordination, flexibility, agility and speed
Beyond improving your reaction times, tennis keeps you on your toes mentally. Research from the University of Illinois shows that because the game requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain to keep your mind sharp.
Tennis is an ace for stress relief too, which boosts your mood and keeps your heart healthy. And we can’t skimp over the warm and fuzzy traits it instills, like discipline, patience and teamwork, all in a healthy social outlet. A study done at Southern Connecticut State University even found that tennis players scored higher in vigor, optimism and self-esteem and lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes and non-athletes.
One of our favorite things about tennis? It’s totally inclusive and accessible — if you can pick up a racquet, you can play. Here’s why:
- Every body can play. It doesn’t matter how tall, short, muscular, strong or fast you are.
- It can be as social as you want. You can play singles, doubles or even with yourself against a wall. What other sport makes room for your many moods?
- You can play year-round. Whether you’re in need of fresh air or a good workout to warm you up in the winter, CA has both indoor and outdoor tennis courts to fit your needs.
- There’s opportunities for all levels of play. While a lot of team sports drop off in high school when only the elite athletes continue on to the pros, tennis offers casual opportunities for all ability levels. At CA, we offer everything from beginner lessons to competitive league play for all ages.
Come play with CA
Oh yeah…did we mention the fact that tennis is just plain fun? It’s never too early or too late to get started. Come join us at CA and get in on the action!
CA is home to three state-of-the-art outdoor tennis facilities, as well as indoor courts at Columbia Athletic Club. Programs and lessons are held year-round. You can learn more here. Free outdoor tennis courts are also available at the following locations in Columbia:
- Vantage Point Park, 5430 Vantage Point Road
- Oakland Mills Village Center, behind 5876 Thunder Hill Road
- Locust Park Neighborhood Center, 8995 Lambskin Lane
- Owen Brown Ridge, off Gracious End Court