With Wimbledon underway and the crowd-thrilling mixed doubles pairing of Serena Williams and Andy Murray, the nation is once again taking to tennis. With our parks and leisure centres filling with racquet-bearing rookies, here’s why tennis is a perfect match for your health – and how to get in on the game!
What are the health benefits of tennis?
Tennis is one of the best sports for all-over fitness, while players were found by Oxford University in 2016 to be at a lower risk of heart death than swimmers, runners or footballers. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the benefits of playing tennis include:
- Increased brain power, with children who play tennis found to do better in school
- Better hand to eye co-ordination and balance
- A strong heart, with those who play for three hours a week being 56% less at risk of cardiovascular disease
- Healthier bones
- Improved fitness levels, with people playing two or three times a week meeting global recommended levels
- Up to 870 calories burned per hour
The mental benefits of playing tennis are also significant. According to Bupa, tennis improves mindset and focus, while it’s also a great stress-buster. There’s also the social aspect – playing with friends and family or joining a club will give your happiness and wellbeing a boost!
How to start playing tennis
If you’re new to tennis or haven’t picked up a racquet in years, start slowly – particularly if you’re overweight or haven’t done much exercise for a while. Wear loose, comfortable clothes that allow you to run around and make sure your shoes have a non-marking sole. Running shoes are not advisable as they can cause your ankle to roll and can also mark the court, so opt for court shoes or cross trainers.
Invest in a lesson or two to learn the basics. These don’t have to be expensive; ask at your local leisure centre if beginners’ classes are held there or whether members of staff could give you a private lesson. Team up with a friend or use social media to find a like-minded newbie – not only will you split the cost of starter sessions, but you might find a (tennis) partner for life!
Use a tennis ball machine to practise; find out if your local tennis centre hires them out by the hour or half-hour. Failing that, return to your school days and find a good, old-fashioned wall!
Where to play tennis
Many public parks have tennis courts that you can use for free, or you can book a court in your local leisure centre. In Plutus Health’s home city of Newport, we’re lucky to have a number of fantastic venues, such as the Active Living Centre in Bettws and Newport Tennis Centre at the International Sports Village. In Gwent there’s also Cwmbran Tennis Club and the Aspire Tennis Academy in Usk, which both offer children’s and adults’ coaching.
If you’re getting into the ‘swing’ of any sport this summer, don’t forget to drink plenty of water and do those stretches to warm up and cool down properly. And have a read of our health blog to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D this summer – and how to sleep in the heat!