Is tennis REALLY the best sport in which people could participate to improve their health?
Obviously, this is going to create some discussion. First, let me say that there is nothing wrong with any other activity. Running, cycling, and swimming are all great activities, and they will each give you tremendous benefit. But, let’s face it! Many people don’t want to go for a run, or a walk, or cycle or get in the pool; they want something that is action/reaction, fun, and that gives them the greatest ‘bang for their buck.’ If you are one of those people, I definitely, and without reservation, believe that you should consider playing tennis! Now, why?
Tennis has been very well-researched over the years, and has been shown to be beneficial in numerous ways, physiologically and psychologically. I will go into some of the reasons but, if you question the science behind any of this, I invite you to go to www.tennis-health.com
and click on the Tennis– for the health of it!
booklet. At the end are many of the references to support tennis as a lifelong sporting endeavor. In fact, tennis has been called the ultimate exercise activity by many.
Just a few points: Interval training has been shown to improve cardiorespiratory capacity more effectively than continuous aerobic activity where you get your heart rate into a target zone and keep it there (linearly) for whatever time period. Tennis is a natural interval activity by the mere pattern of play associated with intense points, followed by a short recovery period. Anaerobic power, agility, dynamic balance, coordination, and bone strength are all seen to improve when one plays tennis regularly.
Psychologically, the simple fact that you are practicing (or competing) one-on-one (or two-against-two in doubles) means that there is a human interaction necessary to perform. Studies have shown that one learns to manage adversity, improves problem-solving skills and learns how to manage mistakes and crises. Some studies have even shown brain growth through the problem-solving activities of tennis.
So, my question is this: If anything I say is true, why wouldn’t someone want to at least try tennis? Why wouldn’t a parent at least want to enable their children to try the game, and why wouldn’t a senior want to get out on the court? I know you have your thoughts and I would enjoy the dialogue.
Looking forward to your thoughts!