Tennis: The Full Body Workout You’ve Been Missing Out On
Everyone loves it when the annual Pimms drinking, strawberry and cream eating time of the year shows its face. For two weeks, we become experts in tennis and Andy Murray’s biggest fans. Some offices even allow colleagues to watch matches on a big screen (yes, really!) and there’s a very “Great British” buzz in the air. Hurrah!
But tennis isn’t just a spectator sport; it’s a great activity for keeping in shape whatever your age or ability, and year round, it’s one of Melanie’s favourite work-outs, as you’ll have seen from her Instagram.
Burn Baby Burn
During a game of tennis, your body requires strength, flexibility and agility to move around the court and get the ball back in play. Tennis also tests your mental and physical endurance and can be extremely exhausting.
The longest match in tennis history lasted over 11 hours, and while I don’t expect you’ll play for anywhere near that long, you’ll likely play for a couple of hours – probably longer than you’d choose to stay in the gym!
Sadly, there’s no ‘calories burnt’ screen flashing at you on a tennis court. But during a “normal length” game of singles you can expect to burn between 400-600 calories. This is because tennis requires you to constantly be on the move, whether you are running, rotating, reaching or changing direction – every movement requires input from your whole body.
A tennis match was once described as “a thousand little sprints” by the legendary tennis player Bjorn Borg. The quick movements required during a match can be likened to interval training, which is often used to help burn fat and improve cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Regular exercise also has a positive impact on bone health, which peaks around age thirty and slowly declines thereafter. Continuing to exercise after thirty can help prevent age-related bone mass loss and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Full Body Toning
While many sports leave people strong in some areas of their body and weaker in others, tennis is unique in the way it requires strength from the whole body. Legs are involved in running and changing direction, while the torso is needed for rotation before, during and after every shot. Serving also requires strong arms, shoulders and back muscles, so every part of the body gets a workout. In theory, using your whole body should reduce the amount you ache the next day… but no promises!
Whether you play with a friend or at a club, tennis is always going to be a sociable way of getting fit. Exercising with others not only adds a bit of healthy competition, it has also been shown to improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
So, next time you pick up a glass of Pimms, make sure it’s a post-tennis match tipple to celebrate your full body workout!