The Queen City may be known for it’s chili, it’s hills and it’s goetta–which I recently heard an outsider erroneously pronounce “go-etta,” sigh–but every summer a few big time tennis players head to the Tri-State to swing their rackets in the Western & Southern Open. As someone who’s dabbled in the game a bit myself–shamelessly known not for my power shot, but for my lobs–I’ve always appreciated the sport.
Tennis is a fun, anerobic exercise that engages your entire body, including the legs, glutes, abs, shoulders, arms, back and chest. Maria Sharapova doesn’t tout lean legs and brawny biceps for nothing. And honestly, would you want to take Serena WIlliams one-on-one? Exactly.
Considering that this sport burns roughly 500 calories per hour, it’s a great activity to incorporate into your fitness regimen when working to maintain a healthy weight or even drop a few lbs. Tennis boasts a variety of health benefits, and here are just a few reasons to pick up a racket.
- Lifelong sport. Eventually, there comes a time when many athletes have to hang up their running shoes or retire their cleats, because high-impact sports can do some serious muscular damage over time. But tennis–much like golf–is less dangerous and demanding than most other sports. As long as you can swing your arms your set! (Pun intended.)
- Train the ticker. Research shows that three hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week can cut the risk for heart disease in half. Tennis is an excellent blood-pumping exercise for physical conditioning.
- Build endurance. When training for any sort of fitness competition, most people turn to running in order to build some hefty lung capacity. But, the quick bursts of activity, mixed with small rest periods make tennis a great form of interval training that revs up metabolism and boosts cardiovascular endurance–arguably the most important aspect of fitness.
- Full-body workout. Between the quick sprints, power shots and pivots, tennis is a total body workout–whether you’re competing in a singles or doubles match.
- Agility training. If finesse and accuracy aren’t exactly your strongsuit, playing scrappy is the key to earning points and hopefully adding a “W” to your record. Tennis requires balance, coordination and footwork–the foundational elements for becoming an agile athelete–and skills that can transfer into any sport.
- Mental fitness. Tennis requires more than physical fitness, it requires your brain to be on par, too. Heck, even keeping score can be a real doozy. Ad in? Ad out? Love what? Tennis is especially challenging because it requires quick responses and tactical thinking.