|Article by Ashley Neaves - The Tennis Mentor; Sweatband.com Ambassador
As a tennis coach, I am a little biased when it comes to talking about sports that help your fitness and wellbeing. For me, tennis always comes out at the top. There are plenty of health benefits of playing tennis, lots of which are fairly obvious, but this one shocked me:
Tennis can make you live stronger and longer… by 9.7 years!
According to recent research in Denmark, tennis is one of the best sports for increasing life expectancy. A study took place for over 25 years, tracking more than 8,500 people and it found that these sports increased life expectancy compared to their sedentary peers:
- Tennis: 9.7 years
- Badminton: 6.2 years
- Soccer: 4.7 years
- Cycling: 3.7 years
- Swimming: 3.4 years
- Jogging: 3.2 years
If knowing that is not enough to convince you to pick up a racket, here are 5 reasons that tennis can help your health (all of which will contribute to you living stronger and longer):
1. Improving Balance & Coordination
Tennis requires a large amount of balance and coordination. It requires lots of change of direction and lateral movement which most people don’t use in day to day life. Alongside balance and stability when moving and changing direction, your coordination is tested and developed as tennis makes use of multiple body parts at once.
2. Promoting Heart Health
Tennis can be a great cardio workout and good for your heart health. In fact, one study found that people who participated in racket sports had a 59% reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality and a 47% reduction in all-cause mortality (Trusted Source ).
3. Improving Musculoskeletal Function
According to a 2019 study, tennis players had greater upper and lower body musculoskeletal function than non-players. Your musculoskeletal system includes ligaments, bones, muscles, soft tissues, and tendons (Trusted Source).
The researchers speculate that this may have to do with the high intensity interval training nature of tennis.
4. Developing Cognitive Skills
While playing tennis, your brain has to compute a large number of things in a very short amount of time. You have to gauge the oncoming ball’s speed, height, spin, direction and depth before deciding which shot you are going to hit. You have to keep score in between points and communicate with your partner when playing doubles. Over time, tennis players do these things automatically, showing that your brain can adapt to this fast paced environment. Playing tennis can help to sharpen your reactions and improve the connection between your eyes, brain and body!
5. Increasing Social Interactions
In my opinion, this is one of the most important of all of the benefits. Tennis is a sport for life where you will make long term friends. Playing a sport like tennis allows you to be more active and social throughout your later years which is obviously amazing for your physical and mental wellbeing. Participating with others will not only make you more motivated to play regularly, but it can lead to a happier life!
I know, you probably stopped reading this a while ago and you’re dusting off your tennis racket… you won’t regret it!
Ashley, The Tennis Mentor
1. Life Expectancy Study: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30538-X/fulltext
2. Cardio Benefits: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27895075/
3. The Musculoskeletal Health Benefits of Tennis: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31710819/