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Advantage Tennis – Reasons This Game Is Great For All

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Artin Elmayan, who lives in Argentina is a tennis enthusiast and plays the sport three times a week to stay fit and healthy.  So what, you may ask. Artin is 95 and hasn’t missed playing the sport even for a single week all his life. He credits his fitness and longevity to tennis. Sumant Mishra called the ‘grandfather of Indian tennis,’ died when he was 88 and was fairly active till his death.

Though traditionally not a popular game in India, it was introduced around 1880 by the British and was primarily an elitist game. Though still an urban man’s game, tennis is gaining popularity as a fitness sport and is being increasingly played by young and old alike. The popularity of the game is fueled by the accessibility to good courts in large cities and nowadays provided by most large residential apartment complexes and townships.

So why is tennis gaining momentum over other sport especially for overall fitness? 

  • Tennis is not just about burning calories; it increases your endurance and stamina both physically and mentally
  • It helps you focus and concentrate as the game requires you to outthink your opponent
  • It sharpens reflexes and promotes hand-eye coordination
  • It strengthens the body from the core

Think about the movements of tennis – it includes running, swinging, reaching, pivoting – a complete workout. Tennis is what can be classified as an HIIT workout – a high-intensity interval training workout.  Studies show that the body metabolism is most responsive to short bursts of intense cardio that is repeated in intervals between periods of rest. Tennis follows the same pattern with extreme cardio movements followed by intervals of inactivity after each point or in between sets.

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In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, tennis burns more calories than other physical activities, including cycling, weight lifting, golf, dancing or playing volleyball. Men burn about 600 calories with an hour long game of tennis, while women can burn about 450 calories during the same period.

Children, however, apart from all the health benefits, could derive a number of other sociological and psychological advantages from playing tennis regularly. Of course, there’s always a debate on when the right time is to teach a child to play tennis – arguments range from 3 years to 12.

The five benefits to children for playing tennis, cannot be denied, regardless of age:

  • Commitment and responsibility – Showing up for practice on time, juggling school work, eating well, practicing off court all are part of learning tennis
  • Problem-solving skills – Tennis is a problem-solving as much as physical. One needs to understand one’s own strengths and weakness and that of your opponent’s to strategize a win
  • Math and physics – Tennis requires one to learn complex (at least for the young ones) numbering and counting. Though one may not consciously need to know in theory, in practice, tennis involves angles, trajectory, speed and velocity
  • Sportsmanship – Children learn that losing is as much a part of the game as is winning. Accepting failure while commending the winner goes a long way in building character
  • Social skills – Tennis is as much an individual game as much as a team sport. Especially during the learning stage, the social interaction with peers and coaches goes a long way in developing the game

That tennis is a great fitness sport is a no brainer. But how about some fun?  It is one among the most popular social games that adults can play. As a singles game, it allows couples or friends to compete with each other while having fun. And it’s literally double the fun during a doubles game. The combination of cardio with camaraderie is an amazing stress buster for the hectic urban life and making friends over tennis is now a common phenomenon.

With city living being increasingly part of large residential communities, playing tennis on in-house courts after a hard day’s work or during weekends is slowly becoming the norm. Be it for health or social reasons, it’s game set match all the way!

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