With summer now around the corner, tennis courts around the country will be put into action. Fans of the popular racquet sport will no doubt be keen to dust off the cobwebs of their beloved tennis racket, slap on their headbands and channel their inner Roger Federer.
Tennis is a sport loved by the masses. Data from 2019 has shown over 87 million people play the sport worldwide, with over 25 million people taking to the courts across Europe, whilst approximately 18 million Americans are doing so across the Atlantic.
With levels of participation on the rise, one may wonder why so many people are taking up the sport. Aside from being highly enjoyable to play with peers, tennis also offers many mental and psychical benefits to those who step on the court. Whilst you may never become the next Roger Federer or be regarded as the best tennis player of all time, tennis still can offer an abundance of positives for the mind and body.
The benefits of playing tennis include:
1. Improving your agility, flexibility and balance
Getting around the court often requires a culmination of agility, flexibility and balance. This is otherwise referred to as hand-eye coordination. Manoeuvring yourself around the court is no easy feat and requires a specific skillset if to be mastered. By playing tennis regularly, players will notice an increase in their flexibility off the court which in-turn leads to improved mobility, posture and muscle co-ordination. It can also help to reduce injury and muscle fatigue. Navigating the court will also improve your agility and balance through the constant use of movement, change in direction and stretching of your body.
- Mental Gains
If you thought tennis was a game which required no mental prowess, think again. Mastering the sport requires an abundance of mental sharpness and resilience. Through quick decision making, tactical thinking and prolonged mental focus, a player can benefit as much mentally as they do psychically from being on the court. Tennis matches can often become like a game of chess, with every serve and shot becoming tactical, albeit with the added benefits of exercise being integrated.
- Relieve stress
Playing sport or exercising can be seen as the kryptonite of managing and relieving stress. Burning off some much-needed steam on the court can be imperative to a healthy heart and mind. The stresses of life can be left off the court, with tennis requiring high levels of mental attentiveness. Playing tennis can be a successful coping mechanism for dealing with stress due to the psychical, mental, social and emotional challenges on-court. Tennis has also been proven to help regulate serotonin. This brain chemical is linked to many fundamental benefits such as appetite, emotional balance and sleep cycle. Therefore, not only will tennis help relieve stress, it can do wonders for you overall mental state.
- Weight Loss
Tennis requires high levels of cardio over the course of a game, especially during a singles match. Tennis players are said to cover an average of 3 miles over the course of a match, with recreational players burning an estimated 600-1300 calories per two-hour singles sessions. Through the constant movement of your body alongside running and stretching, tennis will see you shed those extra pounds in no time.
- Social benefits
Tennis requires two to tango, or sometimes four. A casual game of tennis can also be regarded as a rewarding social experience, offering the opportunity for opponents to socialise across the court. It can be seen as a great way for young people to make friends and enrich their social skills. Alternatively older players of the sport can remain social whilst keeping fit. Tennis is often regarded as a lifetime sport, with many retirees enjoying some on-court action without putting too much strain onto themselves.