5 reasons to take up tennis

Looking for a new hobby? Here are 5 reasons to take up tennis!

The end of June marks the ever-anticipated start of the nation’s favourite sporting spectacle, Wimbledon. And we here at WHL are very excited. But the game is far more than an afternoon’s entertainment on Murray Mount with a Pimm’s in-hand. While you may think a friendly knock about isn’t all that taxing, you may be surprised to learn that you can burn a whopping 600 calories an hour while taking to the court – making it as effective as jogging or spinning. And it’s not just a hardcore workout; the beauty of tennis lies in its ability to challenge all aspects of your mind and body, from your brain to your bones. Indeed, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, tennis can help lower high blood pressure, maintain a healthy body weight, lower cholesterol and reduce stress.

So here’s how to get into the Wimbledon spirit and discover 5 reasons to take up tennis. Who knew that small, unassuming yellow ball could do so much…

It gets you moving

Bjorn Borg once described a tennis match as “a thousand little sprints”, which is why tennis makes an amazing cardiovascular sport. During a point, the game offers short, intense bursts of activity, followed by rest, which helps muscles use oxygen efficiently. The quick aerobic movements also burn fat, increase your heart rate and promote higher energy levels. What’s more, a tennis match can last anywhere between an hour and three, so running, side stepping, jumping and lunging around a court for this time is sure to produce results similar to (or better than!) your usual gym workout.

Your muscles and bones will thank you

Tennis promotes efficient strength training in your legs, arms and upper body. Hundreds of starts and stops, for example, is a surefire way to build stronger leg muscles, while hitting a ball for over an hour is guaranteed to strengthen those arms. What we love about tennis though is its variety; it isn’t static or repetitive, but rather works all the muscles in different ways, which in turn is incredibly effective.

And it’s not just your muscles. The National Institute of Health names tennis as one of the weight-bearing activities well-suited to building strong bones. Why? Moving your body tactically around a tennis court will put small amounts of pressure on the bones in your legs, which in turn will help them to become stronger.

It’s good for your brain

But it’s not all physical. Tennis can help develop tactical thinking similar to that of playing a game of chess. A large proponent of playing the game involves creativity, planning, anticipation, alertness, quick reaction times and tactical thinking to develop shot patterns and win a point. This helps generate new connections between nerves in the brain, keeping you alert and sharp long after the game is over.

It improves coordination

Tennis is a sport that requires your whole body to communicate and cooperate. It tests your balance, speed, footwork and hand-eye coordination through a variety of movements and techniques. What’s more, shots such as angled volleys, drop shots and lobs also require fine motor control, so master these and your body will thank you for it.

It’s fun!

We all know that when exercise is fun, it doesn’t feel all that much like hard work. Concentrating on winning a match (if you’re half as competitive as the WHL team) makes it almost impossible to remember you are exercising at all. What’s more, when you hit a corker and win the point, it feels amazing!