Summer is here and Wimbledon is on. The perfect time to have a glass of fresh, cold lemonade and get your tennis rackets out in this Wimbledon fever! Tennis can be a fun sport to watch and an even better sport to play, but how many of these physical and psychological health benefits of tennis were you aware of?
1. Improves bone health and reduces the risk of osteoporosis
The benefits on bone health of playing sports is no secret, there are numerous studies that have proven this well-known fact. You may have never asked the question; which sports are better and more efficient for improving my bone health? There is an assumption that all sports improve bone health equally, but this might not be so true.
A number of studies reviewed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that individuals who played tennis compared to those who played other sports had higher levels of improved bone health. It was also discovered that the bone mineral content and bone mass density (BMD) were greater in the hip and lumbar spine regions of tennis players compared to non-tennis players.
The bone density laboratory at the University of Mississippi further confirmed the findings of other studies that developing high femoral neck BMD by playing tennis when young could contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis later in life.
2. Improves aerobic and anaerobic health
The increase in oxygen intake from playing tennis increases your heart rate and aids your blood in delivering oxygen and crucial nutrients to all your muscles. Tennis also allows your muscles to have a greater blood flow and supply by helping with the development of capillaries and capillary beds within the muscles. This in turn supports your muscles to perform at more advanced levels and tire at a slower rate.
Tennis has an aerobic recovery phase, using rhythmic-like movements, oxygen and large muscles over a long period of time. A European study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that tennis players had improved aerobic fitness compared to non-tennis players. This doesn’t stop tennis also helping in the maintenance of your anaerobic health by allowing muscles to use oxygen more efficiently and provide energy quickly for the short bursts of high-intensity, quick and reactive movements needed in tennis.
3. Enhances flexibility, balance & coordination
Tennis explores and tests your body’s flexibility as the sport requires you to move quickly into the right position to hit the ball. Your balance is also tested in these positions as you must provide enough power in your hit for the ball to fly over the net using your torso and legs, and you change direction quickly. Each time you play tennis you are testing and improving your body’s flexibility, balance and coordination.
Most people don’t realise how important flexibility is for their wellbeing. A good flexibility decreases your risk of injury, aids your joints to move with a wider range of motion, and allows your muscles to work more effectively.
4. Reduces risk of developing cardiovascular disease
The British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed several studies that found that people who played tennis had a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Taking it back to aerobic and anaerobic, the World Journal of Cardiology states that the anaerobic movements in tennis bring a larger reduction in non-esterified fatty acids which play a role in the development of coronary artery disease. Anaerobic exercises seemed to correlate to having an improved cardiovascular health.
5. Boosts mood
The Mental Health Foundation, quoted by the LTA (Lawn Tennis Associations), points out that tennis can improve your mental wellbeing by keeping you active and releasing endorphins. Sport is often regarded as a good way to reduce stress and improve your mood, but this can be particularly true when it comes to tennis. Quoted in an article published by The Human Performance Institute, Finn et al claims that tennis players score higher in vigour, optimism and self-esteem, and scored lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety, and tension compared with other athletes and non-athletes.
6. Full body workout
There are many different types of sports out there that work out different parts of your body, but there aren’t many sports that singularly exercise every part of your body.
The Guardian mentions the different muscles used during various sports. Football is mostly working out your leg muscles and Pilates is mostly working out your abdominal group and especially your abdominal core. However, tennis seems to manage everything, exercising your thighs, arms and torso.
All sport can be beneficial for you, but it seems that tennis could be better than many others. If you haven’t already taken up playing tennis, these 6 health benefits of playing tennis should encourage you. And what better time to start than the time of Wimbledon 2017? Join in on the tennis spirit!