A lot of individuals have this thinking that physical fitness can only be achieved if one spends lots of time in the gym, pumping iron and running the treadmill as well as performing a lot of those other exercises. But I tell you now, you don’t need to go to the gym to stay in excellent shape. You only need to ask yourself what physical activity you enjoy doing. And if you happen to love a particular sport but haven’t really given much thought about it, maybe it’s about time you did? One of the best and most effective ways to stay physically fit is to play tennis. Sure, you can also go for basketball, soccer, or even rugby. And since we’re Aussies, we can always go for water-related activities like swimming and surfing. The point is that any sport can be a really good way to keep ourselves physically fit and healthy.
However, let me just share with you my thoughts on why I consider tennis to be a particularly good exercise. Let me just reiterate that this has nothing to do with the on-going Australian Open, although I would like to believe that it is a very timely event to share with you what I have learned the past several months playing tennis with a friend.
Here are some of the more important reasons why tennis is one excellent way to stay physically fit.
- Superb cardiovascular training
Bjorn Borg once said that playing tennis on a competitive level is like performing a thousand and one little sprints. It’s like having high intensity interval training for a couple of hours running towards the net like crazy before backpedalling towards the baseline to hit a slammer. Running from one corner to another and towards and from the net will require tremendous amounts of energy. This increases both your aerobic and anaerobic metabolic demands which can easily translate to more efficient fat burning process as well as improved energy utilisation.
- Helps in muscle development
Have you seen how tennis players can shift their weight in a split second to make sure that they hit the tennis ball for that fantastic return? They won’t be able to do this if their muscles are not properly toned and conditioned. I must admit, I can feel the muscles in my arms, upper body, and legs already starting to take shape while also becoming a lot firmer after only a few months of playing tennis. It’s the shifting movements that help train and condition the muscles to be as explosive as they can be when needed.
- Improves visual motor coordination
As a beginner, I have to say I really couldn’t hit the ball. Most of the time, I guess, I was thinking that there’s a large invisible hole in my racquet that the ball passes through every time I take a swing at the ball. The point is, my brain must be able to make accurate estimations as to where the ball will pass so that I can direct my arms holding the racquet to hit the ball. From my visual senses, electrical signals go to my brain, get processed there, and then electrical signals again are sent to my arms to initiate the action of swinging the racquet. It is this visual and motor coordination that is superbly enhanced by tennis. Why is this important, you ask? Other physical activities require good coordination between what we see and what we do. With tennis, we are actually sharpening this particular skill so we become better at other endeavours.
- Enhances flexibility, agility, and dynamic balance
Just changing direction many times in a particular game can greatly enhance your flexibility, agility, and dynamic balance. The whole point is to return the ball at all cost as long as it’s within the boundaries of the court. Hitting the ball while running also requires superb balance as the forward momentum can definitely throw you off your feet.
These are just some of the reasons why I believe tennis is one of the best ways to be physically fit. I am absolutely certain that there are hundreds of other reasons why you’d benefit the most when you play tennis. Now, don’t you think it’s about time taking a swing with your racquet? All you need to do is to invest on a reliable sports equipment and then enrol for tennis club membership in our area. If you are just a beginner, then tennis classes can be of great help. So you are not just enjoying an exciting sport activity, you too are keeping yourself physically fit.