Cardio Benefits of Tennis
First, let’s consider your cardio potential in relation to the amount of movement required on the tennis court. From the moment you begin to play, your heart rate is quickly elevated, which helps burn calories and in turn improves your overall circulatory system. Not only is your risk for heart disease, heart attacks and strokes greatly reduced, but the calories you burn can help you shed that pesky extra pound (or two). A person who weighs approximately 160 pounds can burn as much as 300 calories playing a half hour’s worth of tennis. Wow, that’s quite a figure! If I weren’t already tall, skinny and afraid that I would disappear into thin air if I lost one more pound, I would be all over this! But for the folks out there who would like to improve their cardio in more ways than one, look no further than the game of tennis.
Muscular Benefits of Tennis
Next, let’s talk about the muscles you are strengthening each time you play. Did you know that each time your feet push against the court (when you run, shuffle, jump, etc.) that generates kinetic energy that is then distributed all over your body? It’s true!The muscles in your legs are by far the hardest-working, with the hamstrings and quads legs receiving the brunt of the power. After the energy has reached that area, it will move on to be distributed to your gluteus maximus. Translation: your rear end (snicker, snicker).Once the power has moved past your gluteus maximus, it will journey up your body until it has reached what is known as your “trunk muscles”.
The trunk muscles consist of your:
- The all-important latissimus dorsi muscles (Translation: “the lats”, but the official medical terminology is “the largest muscles in your back”)
Because of the workout that your trunk muscles get, your core (basically your spine and abdominal muscles) is strengthened and the risk of a back injury is significantly reduced. It is extremely important to keep your core in good shape because it is your body’s main source of physical support, and if any part of it gets damaged, it can be very difficult to walk.
After the power has passed through the core, it reaches the upper-body muscles. This group consists of your:
- Rotator cuff area in the shoulders
- Upper arms
It is important that these muscles are kept in good shape as well, because many people have suffered injuries such as tennis elbow as a result of pushing their muscles too hard through repetitive motion. Certain racquets are designed to help reduce the risk of such injuries by decreasing the amount of air resistance when swinging, and making the grips on the handles easier to grasp. If you know that your upper-body muscles are more prone to injury than most, consider a racquet that will be easy on your upper-body while steadily building the muscle in that area.
A Workout for the Mind
Last, but certainly not least, is the mental muscles. You heard me. The mental muscles. Tennis players have trained their optometric and perceptual skills to be top-notch. I mean, how else could somebody know where to plant themselves, know exactly when to hit the ball, and calculate where they want it to land all in the span of about half a second? Most of the pros have cannons for arms- ever notice how the ball always seems to take on that “faster than a speeding bullet” motif when these people play? To be able to mentally prepare oneself so quickly for that on every hit is an incredible feat.There was also actually a study done a few years back that compared tennis players’ cognitive abilities with those in other sports. The facilitators discovered some areas in which the players’ skills were superior to the rest of the group; the tennis players reportedly scored higher marks in the temporal and speed processing area than any of the other subjects. Who knew that a couple of hours of play a few times a week could improve so many aspects of one’s mental performance? I should have played tennis before taking the ACT!
By the time the entire kinetic energy process is complete, the energy you built with each movement has traveled from your feet to your upper body in a matter of seconds. Every muscle in your body is worked out at some point or another, which makes tennis a perfect all-around physical and mental workout. Is your mind blown yet? I bet it is. I suppose I’d better pause for a moment to let this all sink in… …Ok, times up. Now pick up that racquet and go treat your body to some fun and a great workout today!Be sure to check out the Prince Silver– its unique design and aerodynamic qualities make it much easier to prevent wrist or arm injuries!