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What are the Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Tennis?

What are the Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Tennis?

Posted by Staff on Mar 4th 2020

Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Playing Tennis

Tennis is a sport that's loved the whole world over. In addition to the fact that people of all ages can play it,  tennis significantly contributes to both physical and mental health. Indeed, most people assume the physical and fitness benefits, but they don't even consider the mental benefits of tennis. No matter where you play, or on what type of court--clay, grass or concrete--you can be sure that the sport goes a long way in keeping you in optimal health and in tiptop shape.

Here are some solid facts about tennis to get you started:

  1. Tennis players who spend 3 or more hours per week playing tennis at a moderately vigorous pace can cut their risks of death by up to 50 percent from any cause.  This study was done by Ralph Paffenberger, a physician who studied more than 10,000 people in a 20-year research project.
  2. The mental benefits of tennis are substantial. People who play tennis tend to score higher in self-esteem, optimism and vigor and achieve a lower stress, anxiety, confusion, anger and depression score as compared to non-athletes and athletes who play other sports. These findings were proclaimed by  Doctor Joan Finn and participating colleagues at the State University of Southern Connecticut.
  3. Tennis is a sport that requires constant tactical thinking and alertness. This activity in the brain can lead to the forging of new connection between nerves, and thus facilitate a lifetime of continuous brain development.
  4. Tennis beats out inline skating, golf and most other sports when it comes to developing positive personality characteristics. Competitive tennis has been found to burn more calories than cycling, inline skating and aerobics.

How Tennis Improves Physical Health

First off, tennis is a vigorous physical activity, one that can be considered as an aerobic fitness. Your cardiovascular system gets a workout and you burn extra fat in the process. All of these exercises help you lower your risks for stroke, heart attack and other heart diseases while expanding your overall energy levels. Today,  you can wear a Fitbit or other health fitness activity tracker and see the actual results of how you're working for something heart-healthy.

Your anaerobic fitness also improves because you frequently move in short, quick bursts over a period of time. The rest between movements allows the muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. You become faster because you'll need to run up and down, side to side, or on a lateral line to get the ball back to your opponent's side of the court. Moreover, the constant lunging, jumping and sprinting improves your acceleration, all of which improves your leg strength.

You will develop your hand-eye coordination as you repeatedly move into position and hit the ball over to the other side using your upper body and arm strength. The constant stretching of muscles and court movement provides added flexibility. Your agility will also develop because a typical tennis match forces you to move and change direction constantly.

All that movement serves to strengthen your body's immune system. You become fitter and more resistant to common colds and diseases. Your bones get a workout too--the density, mass and musculature improvement help prevent the early onset of osteoporosis.

Individuals who are into tennis will learn the value of nutritious meals. Their dietary habits will develop as they try to eat foods that contain energy before competition, and foods that enhance recovery after competition. If you're interested in knowing about how to maintain a healthy diet in general, then you may want to see our  reviews of Brain MakerThe Perfect Health DietTim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body, and The Paleo Solution, The Original Human Diet.

The physical exertions in a typical tennis match include explosive stretching and movements. All that activity keeps your body healthy, which makes it easy to see why tennis is a top choice for individuals who wish to improve their health and fitness levels quickly. It's an easy transition for cross-athletes who have participated in other sports and those looking for more ways to challenge themselves. At its core, tennis is a superb physical workout coupled with immense psychological and social benefits.

It's a safe, non-contact sport that is also an excellent medium to meet new people and have bonding time with couples and friends. Tennis players won't have to rely on strength or age. Tennis is known as the "sport for the lifetime", as anyone can play at any age, from children to adults to senior citizens.

How Tennis Improves Mental Health

You can develop a solid work ethic through tennis. The constant practice towards perfection and improvement via tennis lessons invariably reinforces the immense value of working hard.

(If you want to get better, you can purchase tennis-training equipment here.)

Discipline also comes into the foreplay, as you will need to constantly practice and control the pace during a match.

You can manage mistakes by learning to cope with your own abilities. You will learn from your mistakes in tennis, and carry over that practice into real life.

You will learn to compete in a one-on-one environment. Your ability to compete sets you up for the ups and downs associated with a highly ambitious world.

You will develop your acceptance of certain life responsibilities and preparation by practicing, checking the play equipment and making the right line calls.

(You can find some Tennis rackets here).

You will learn how to adjust to real-life situations, i.e, weather elements such as sunlight, wind, etc. while playing tennis at a high level.

You will learn how to manage stress. Tennis is an emotional, mental and physical game where stress plays a strong role. You will start to notice the peaks and rest points in which recovery periods are present.

You will learn how plan out your tennis strategy in your mind. Your brain activity boosts when you think about how to anticipate their moves and map out an effective counter-attack.

Your improve your problem-solving abilities because you think of physics, geometry and angles when tackling the world of tennis.

Tennis helps you stay calm under pressure. For example, you develop a rhythm to how you serve and/or return. You can apply these skills to the rest of your life i.e, when taking exams, creating important sales presentations and in conducting meetings.

You practice and refine your sportsmanship as you play each match, whether for fun or when competing at a tennis tournament. You will learn to accept defeat with honor and win in a gracious manner. Making excuses after a loss or gloating when you win is not a psychologically-sound way to approach tennis, or life for that matter.

Teamwork is developed when playing doubles. You will learn to play according to each individual's strengths and coordinate in order to successfully beat the opposing team. ( Here are some strategies for playing doubles).

You also practice social skills in singles and doubles. You will learn to communicate and interact with the coaches, the players and the referees as you complete a tennis match.

You will learn how to have fun. Tennis is a sport that brings enjoyment, fulfillment and challenges. It's a strategic mental game that keeps you on your toes. Moreover, it's a sport that allows you to enjoy and breathe in the freshest air from the great outdoors! 

photo credit: Marianne Bevis IMG_1338 via photopin (license)