How playing tennis gets you fit

How to get fit by playing tennis

More and more people are picking up a racket to enjoy tennis. It’s a more accessible sport than you might think; tennis is sociable, exciting and, of course, great for your fitness levels. Here's the introduction to starting out in the intensive, enjoyable and active world of tennis.

An introduction to tennis

It may seem to many of us that tennis is just an elite sport which is played for a few weeks during a Grand Slam.

When many of us are itching to go out and play after watching another success by Roger Federer, we usually find that the parks are full, and then perhaps don’t make another effort until the same time the following year.

But you don’t have to wait for the summer to enjoy the delights of tennis. Tennis nowadays is a more accessible and year-round sport than you might think; it’s sociable, exciting and, of course, great for your fitness. More than 75,000,000 people are believed to play the sport worldwide.

Tennis can be played indoors or outdoors, on a range of surfaces such as grass, concrete, clay and artificial turf. The game can be played as singles (one player versus one player) or doubles (two players versus two players).

These days you don’t need to be overly concerned about the weather. If it is fine, then a good match outdoors can be just what you need, but sports clubs make it easy to play throughout the winter, whatever conditions are blown our way.

The real barrier, perhaps, to starting tennis, is if you have no-one to play with, but there are plenty of clubs who open their doors to players of all standards. You could knock around with other club members, or many of them offer a ‘ladder’ in which players play against others of similar ability and then move up or down the ladder according to their success or failure.

Tennis clubs are generally laid-back and sociable, with a mix of friendly competitiveness for those that choose to play club matches.

How playing tennis gets your body fit

Playing tennis can have a number of positive health and fitness benefits on your body. Here are some of its key exercise advantages:

  • Tennis improves aerobic fitness, with more oxygen circulated around the body to better muscular endurance.
  • Tennis burns off calories with energy being supplied to the muscles and not forming fat.
  • Tennis boosts flexibility and sprint speed, due to the fast-paced nature of the game.
  • Tennis improves hand-eye co-ordination with concentration required for serving.
  • Tennis develops the strength and power of muscles, notably leg and arm muscles.
  • Tennis furthers concentration and mental strength, with matches often lasting for many hours.
  • Tennis boosts a player's cardiovascular fitness (the heart and lungs organs), allowing more oxygen to be pumped around the body and help energize muscles.

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