There are many health benefits to playing Tennis, some of which you may actually find surprising.
So, I ran some research to gather all the information together from various studies, in one place. Sorting each benefit into physical, mental, and social-related categories.
Keep reading to find out how playing Tennis can benefit your health and well-being.
9 Health Benefits of Tennis
There are many health benefits of playing Tennis. Including improved physical fitness and injury prevention. Here we’ll list the physical and physiological benefits of playing Tennis with a brief explanation of each.
1. Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Tennis can be a high-intensity cardiovascular activity. Regular Cardiovascular activity reduces your risk of heart disease, long term. As it helps to increase blood circulation, which helps to prevent blood clots that cause heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
It also leads to a healthy heart, because the heart, like any other muscle in our body, is a muscle that needs exercise and exertion to make stronger.
2. Strengthens Immune system
Tennis as a form of medium to high-intensity exercise triggers the release of immune cells throughout the body that will, in turn, ward off any foreign bacteria, virus, or outside threat.
Various studies show that playing Tennis for at least 20 to 30 minutes each day will reduce the risk of catching colds and other illnesses due to an increase in immune cells that get released.
3. Improves Bone Health
The National Institutes of Health published an article citing the improvement of bone health in tennis and other weight-bearing or medium impact activities. Weight-bearing activities cause bones to increase in density, thus being more robust to support the added impact of an active lifestyle.
4. Burns Calories and Fat
This is one of the biggest motivators for newbies to the sport.
Tennis is a cardiovascular activity that involves running, jumping, weight-bearing, and rapid arm movements, all of which help burn calories and fat.
5. Improves Flexibility
Tennis improves blood circulation and warms up the muscles quickly, so they are ready to be stretched. Coupling high-intensity cardiovascular activity with pre and post-play stretching will improve flexibility and reduce your risk of injuries.
6. Improves Agility
Tennis requires hand-eye coordination, side-to-side lateral lunging, short bursts of speed up and down the court, and for the players to constantly be on their toes anticipating balls flying from and towards any direction. All of these skills will improve a player’s agility more and more as they continue to practice and compete.
7. Increases Stamina
Tennis requires players to run and lunge their way across the court, which is both high-intensity cardiovascular activities that increase stamina or physical conditioning so that a player will increase their aerobic capacity.
8. Improves Joint Health
Because tennis is a weight-bearing and aerobic exercise, it facilitates the breaking down of old bone and the creation of new bone; it consequently improves joint health, as joints are composed in large parts of the bone.
9. Improves Reflexes
Tennis is the ultimate “think fast” sport as the ball bounces and flies quickly at difficult angles that you must learn to anticipate and read through your opponent’s swing and foot positions. Therefore, your reflexes will be fine-tuned to react with accuracy, not just in tennis but in everyday life.
7 Mental Health Benefits of Tennis
The benefits of Tennis are not limited to physical health but also include mental and emotional benefits. Here are the most noteworthy mental health benefits of Tennis.
1. Relieves Stress
Tennis as a form of exercise can vastly reduce stress and improve your mood because it triggers the brain and glands to release mood-enhancing, stress-relieving neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin, endorphins, and adrenaline.
2. Boosts Brain Power
Along with physical exertion and agility, tennis also requires you to strategize and analyze the game. As you practice and train, you will constantly ponder different plays and then enact them, putting thoughts and strategies to practice. Therefore, you are exercising your brain as much as your body, which results in improved cognition.
3. Improves Discipline
Unless you have a natural talent for tennis, you will need to train consistently to improve your game, so discipline is vital to playing. Discipline is a motivating drive that comes naturally to players as they show up to practices and develop a love for the game.
4. Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
Tennis requires keen hand-eye coordination to time when the racket hits the ball during a service as well as from the receiving end. Improving hand-eye coordination is integral to tennis, but it is also important for everyday activities like housework, cooking, and even menial office tasks.
5. Improves Memory
According to various studies cited by Harvard Health, exercise increases the size and health of the specific areas of the brain that control memory, namely, the prefrontal cortex and the medial temporal cortex.
Indirectly, tennis and other forms of exercise help memory function by triggering growth chemicals in the brain that improve brain health and increase the production of new brain cells.
6. Increases Alertness
Tennis requires a lot of focus, quick reactions, and spontaneous thinking to coordinate your body’s position on the court and anticipate the speed and angle of a flying tennis ball. Increased alertness on the court leads to improved alertness, focus, and attention off the court.
Because exercise pumps more blood into the brain and releases a wealth of healthy and energy-boosting neurotransmitters and hormones, mental acuity and alertness increase following a Tennis game. Perhaps a quick game of tennis on your lunch break will give you that extra mental boost to have a productive afternoon.
7. Improves Decision-Making Skills
This sport helps you think fast and make decisions spontaneously as you have a matter of seconds to decide your next move once you’ve served or hit the ball into the opponent’s court.
Fast decision-making hones an individual’s instincts and reflexes which come from a more primitive, survivalist part of the brain. However, tennis is a game based on strategy. Therefore, many tennis drills work reaction and decision-making by first analyzing plays and then practicing them, which is an excellent tool for decision-making off the court as well.
6 Additional Benefits of Tennis
Tennis’s benefits don’t stop at the mental or the physical aspects but also consist of advantages like sociability, convenience, and affordability. Below, we’ve listed even more benefits of tennis that will fulfill all aspects of life at any age or skill level.
1. Non-Impact Sport
Tennis has the versatility to be a non-impact sport that just works hand-eye coordination or a sport that can be played in teams to offset the stresses of lateral movements and too much running around the court. It is, therefore, a great sport for older players or individuals with minimal stamina.
2. Great Social Activity
One of the greatest aspects of tennis is that it is a social sport that involves at least two players, so you not only get in a great work-out, but you will have an opportunity to meet new people and socialize.
3. Suitable for Any Skill Level
Whether you are new to sports, out of shape, or an elite athlete, tennis is a versatile and accommodating sport for any skill level. It can be as high-intensity and high-impact as a sport can be, but it can also be modified for lower levels of exertion.
For example, accessories and equipment like ball-launching machines can drill finite skills without running and lateral movements. Playing in pairs can also reduce running as the court is split into two smaller areas.
4. Cheap to Get Started
All you need to play tennis is a racket, a few tennis balls, and access to a tennis court. There are tennis courts in plenty of public parks around the world, so you don’t even have to worry about forking out for an expensive membership.
5. Played Throughout the World
There are tennis clubs, associations, and courts all over the U.S. and the world, so you can play wherever you go. Whether you’re on vacation or a business trip, you will always be able to find a nearby tennis court to get in a quick game or two.
6. Suitable for Any Age Level
Just as tennis is great for any skill level, it is also great for any age level. While the game can be complex and strategic, the rules and movements are basic enough for any people of all ages to understand.