With Wimbledon in full swing, our attention turns to the tennis courts. Whilst you’re enjoying the obligatory Pimms, strawberrys and cream this year you may feel inspired to get on the court and try it out for yourself. In this blog we take a look at the health benefits of tennis, how it can help you get in shape this summer and importantly how to avoid injury.
Tennis is truly a full body work out; a single 1 hour game can burn as many as 600 calories and requires cardiovascular fitness, endurance, quick reaction speed, power and flexibility. The professional’s can serve a ball at over 130mph and will use both brain and brawn to defeat their opponent.
The good news is you don’t need to be super fit to get started, tennis is suitable for people of all ages and abilities so whether you’re a complete novice or a competitive club player it’s a great way of keeping in shape, developing tactical skills, as well as enjoying the social side of things off the court.
New to tennis?
If you’re new to tennis, start with a friendly game, aiming to keep the ball in play for as long as possible. This will help you learn hand-eye coordination skills and sharpen your reaction time. If you’re not used to regular exercise a doubles game means a little less running around and doesn’t require quite as much flexibility to reach the ball.
Tennis can be a great way to meet new people or get the kids more active over the summer holidays. Playing regularly can help to lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure, improve your metabolic function, reduce cholesterol and body fat, improve co-ordination and increase bone density. It can even help combat stress and anxiety.
Take a look at the following local opportunities to play tennis:
Hiltingbury Tennis Courts – Get yourself a key card for just £10. You can book courts or pop along for open access.
Eastleigh Park Sport – are running a range of tennis sessions this summer for 8 – 16 year olds for just £1 a session!
Find your nearest tennis court here, on the LTA website.
Tennis for kids gives 5 – 8 years olds an opportunity to learn the basics of tennis in a free 6 week course.
Make sure you pick an appropriate beginners racquet with the correct grip size to avoid hand and wrist injuries. Your local sports shop should be able to help you with this but as a guide you should have a finger width of space between your thumb and fingers when gripping the racquet.
A dynamic warm up for 10 minutes before you play should include jogging, heel raises, lunges, trunk rotations and arm circles as a minimum. Make sure you stretch the major muscle groups after playing to avoid post-exercise muscle soreness.
Getting coaching on proper technique will ensure you don’t develop bad habits early on which could increase your risk of injury. It also means you learn all the skills you require to develop your game quickly.