We all know that tennis is a popular indoor and outdoor sporting activity for people of all ages. Watching tennis on TV can be entertaining, but it is more beneficial to pick up a racket and start playing whether it’s for recreational or competitive purposes. Studies show that people who participate in tennis can improve their heart health, which may decrease their risk of stroke, heart attack or early death.
Tennis provides an excellent total body workout. A total body workout can make the heart work harder and more efficiently. Remember, the heart itself is a muscle, so working the heart just like any muscle in our bodies can become strengthened overtime with better function.
What’s great about tennis is that you can go at your own pace and adjust to your own level of exertion. Tennis in general incorporates frequent short bursts of high intensity, along with longer periods of less intense movements. This workout strategy is similar to interval training, which is a form of aerobic training. Studies done at Harvard University show that this type of training can be associated with lower body fat percentage and improved cholesterol levels. This overall can help boost cardiovascular fitness.
Tennis also has mental and social benefits that is linked to heart health. Tennis as a whole places demands on focus and strategy. This mindfulness may help ease stress, which also places less stress on the heart. Tennis can be played in a match of singles or doubles. For social purposes, a friendly match played with others can help strengthen your social network, overall enhancing mood, happiness and lowering stress.
Tennis is great form of exercise and activity. The more often people exercise and become active the more benefits they will reap. So get out on the court with some friends and take a swing to better heart health! Just keep moving and your heart will thank you in the long run!
-Tiki Walker, Exercise Physiologist at Dedham Health