Hello 2020! Have you started 2020 with New Year’s resolutions to lose a bit of weight or to get fitter?
Tennis is one of the best lifelong sports
Did you know that many studies agree that tennis is one of the very best lifelong sports? It has a wide range of health benefits which can see players playing from the age of 3-4 years old, and still competing at world level in ITF Seniors events in the over 80s events.
“Playing tennis consistently is linked to greater longevity, less morbidity (sickness) and better overall health compared to lighter types of exercise.” Dr Marc Kovacs
Note for parents: Start your kids in a fitness routine early to establish healthy habits. Children can start as young as 3 years old and keep playing for their whole life. It’s never too late to start though so don’t worry about starting older kids too.
If your children already play once a week – then look at your routine to see if you can fit in a second session. Remember, it’s a great sport to play as a family.
Tennis players are generally happier people…
My opinion is that neither coaches, nor tennis organisations and federations shout loudly enough about the true health benefits of tennis. Research consistently shows that tennis players are generally happier people. They also have lower blood pressure, healthier and larger hearts, stronger bones, better flexibility, are less likely to smoke or drink heavily. Critically, whilst most of the developed world is concerned about increasing obesity in children and adults, tennis players are less likely to be obese.
How can you and your kids get the most from playing tennis is 2020?
10 top tips for 2020
Tennis is not just great for your health; its great fun to compete and play matches, or to attend a drills session at your local club. These 10 top tips will get you and your family playing tennis, playing more tennis or playing better tennis!
- Start playing – If you’ve never played, start playing! There is almost sure to be a coach at your local club that will get you and your kids having fun on a tennis court quite quickly
- Try a class that helps you get back in – Maybe you played at school then got caught in the “go to college/University, get a job, get married, have kids” thing and the tennis you used to play is a distant memory. Tennis Xpress classes for beginner adults or those returning to tennis after a long absence, are quite common in most clubs. Maybe its time to sign up
- Play with slower (soft) balls – If you don’t want coaching, but just want to play, the wider range of slower balls like those used by young children are a great way to slow the game down until you find your feet again. And incidentally, did you know that research from the International Tennis Federation found that you will burn more calories playing with a low compression ball because the rallies are longer and you will run a little more!
- Try Cardio Tennis – Look out in your local area for a Cardio Tennis class. It’s fitness on a tennis court to music, where your coach will run drills at your level and will encourage you to work out at your ideal heart rate. Add link to Cardio Tennis in UK
- Add an extra session – If you already play, play more! Adding an extra session a week will help you become a more committed tennis player, you will improve more quickly, and you’ll get double the health benefits!
- Set goals – Set yourself a SMART target (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timebound). Your coach should be able to help you with this. It could include playing 2 players rated higher than them by June, entering 2 tournaments by June, or practising 50 serves in January. Just make sure its something that excites you and that you can achieve at a stretch
- Play wearing a FitBit – Do you have fitness goals for 2020? If so, try wearing your Fit Bit when you play. You’ll easily beat your recommended 10000 steps a day with an hour or two of tennis, and you won’t even notice it!
- Routine is key – Make tennis a regular fixture. In today’s busy life its so easy to end up cancelling things because of work or family demands. Protect your tennis time. You are far more likely to enjoy tennis is your answer to life’s demands is “sorry; I play tennis on a Tuesday!”
- Play in a group – Perhaps you’re struggling to find someone to play. If you’re on Facebook, just search for a local tennis group; there is bound to be one near you. Most clubs are looking for new members, and many will have special offers or induction packages to welcome you and to introduce you to others who are also looking for a game
- Give a tennis gift voucher – If you or a family member has a birthday coming up soon, think of buying a block of lessons or a membership as a present
Great references on the health benefits of tennis and sport
University of Oxford, “Swimming, racquet sports, and aerobics linked to best odds of staving off death” http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-11-30-swimming-racquet-sports-and-aerobics-linked-best-odds-staving-death
Fun Matters! Swedish Tennis Academy in Gran Canaria http://www.swedishtennisacademy.es
Telegraph “Why tennis could save your life – but football and running may not help you live longer https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/11/29/tennis-could-save-life-football-running-may-not-help-live/