Health Benefits of Tennis

In this latest blog I would like to draw your attention to a recent article in the British Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine* advocating the health benefits of tennis. With the tremendous facilities at Club Towers perhaps we should all consider adding tennis to our exercise programmes if we are not playing already!

Tennis is one of the most popular sports across the world, with approximately 75 million participants globally. It is a sport that you can play at every age and at every level.

A large majority of the people who play tennis continue playing all their life, and tennis is therefore an ideal sport to improve physical activity levels of the general population, with a whole range of associated health benefits.

The most striking fact is that compared with other sports, tennis players have the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease (strokes, heart attacks, etc.). Playing just 3 hours a week will reduce your risk of heart disease by 56%.

However, there are a whole range of health benefits including:

  • Higher fitness levels – Good for general health and reducing obesity. Tennis can reduce the risk of a whole range of conditions from blood pressure to diabetes and cancer to dementia. Playing tennis 2-3 times per week, singles or doubles, meets global exercise recommendations for physical fitness.
  • Increased brain power – Improves alertness and tactical thinking which enhances nerve connections in your brain. There is also evidence that children who play tennis regularly get better grades.
  • Reduced stress – Most of us would benefit from better coping mechanisms. Tennis challenges you physically, socially and emotionally, developing improved resilience to stress.
  • Weight reduction – A game of singles may burn as many as at 870 calories in an hour.
  • Stronger bones – Osteoporosis (thinning of bones) increases as we age. A combination of weight bearing exercise and adequate diet minimises the risk.
  • Stronger muscles – Important for injury prevention and balance. As you get older this becomes increasing important to maintain balance and mobility.

Maybe we should consider adding tennis to our fitness programme. It’s certainly made me think twice about taking it up again. See you on court!

Simon Lowe is an MSK specialist GP and Clinical Lead of the Bedfordshire Musculoskeletal service.


* Health Benefits of Tennis was produced by Babette M Pluim, Jack L Groppel, Dave Miley, Miguel Crespo, and Michael S Turner and published in the British Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine.