The health benefits of playing tennis

a profile photo of Lisa Reid
Senior Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
06 July 2017

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This article is more than three years old. It reflects the best available evidence at the time of publication.

Cardiovascular fitness

Playing tennis can be a great whole body workout as you swing, jump, reach, lunge, crouch and pivot your way to fitness. During a match, you sprint from side to side, back and forth and up and down, using sharp, spontaneous movements in an attempt to hit that little yellow ball. So it’s not long before your heart rate is up, you’re sweating and getting a cardio workout. Not only can playing tennis be good for your heart health, it can also help to keep your body fat down and strengthen your bones.

Muscle strength

Unlike many other sports, tennis requires you to use a number of different muscle groups at the same time. Your arms, legs, trunk and upper body muscles are all challenged to work together. You react quickly, with explosive movements that mean you have to think on your feet. Combined with the stop-start agile nature of the movements, playing tennis needs good hand-eye coordination, balance and flexibility too.

Mental skill and focus

Playing a tennis match requires you to be alert, focused and put your strategic and tactical skills into action. So not only can playing tennis help you to get physically fitter and stronger, it can help train your mind too.

Mental wellbeing

Participating in tennis can teach sportsmanship and teamwork, as well as how to be a gracious winner or loser. And whether you’re playing a friendly singles match, teaming up for a doubles tournament or getting competitive, tennis is a great way to meet people and feel socially connected. You can arrange a match as an opportunity to catch up with family and friends or join a local tennis club. It’s also thought that playing tennis can help you to de-stress. That’s not to mention the sense of pride and personal achievement that can come from taking part and the fun you have along the way.

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a profile photo of Lisa Reid
Lisa Reid
Senior Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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