In recent years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of people wanting to become fit and healthy. For many of us, sadly this means stopping buying our favourite takeaway on a Friday or Saturday night and more importantly, exercising. But don’t fear, you have more options than dusting off your old running trainers or hunting down your 1990’s aerobic DVD. Many people admit they hate going to the gym, spending hours on the treadmill or cross-trainer. While this might be your choice of exercise, there are other alternatives that might be more effective and more enjoyable. Ever tried tennis as an alternative? With many physical and psychological benefits, you might be surprised at how it can help you.
Tennis is a great calorie burner
Playing tennis involves a mixture of anaerobic skills such as speed, agility and power combined with high aerobic movements, requiring a substantial amount of energy. By playing tennis 2-3 times a week will increase your calorie expenditure leading to a calorie deficit, helping to lose weight. Playing a singles game of tennis for an hour could have you burning up to and around 600 calories, more than the calories burned with aerobics or cycling! Depending on your current fitness level and weight, playing 3 hour long games of tennis a week can help you burn around 1,800 extra calories a week. Combined with healthy eating, you’ll be well on your way to losing weight in no time. Tennis is also an activity in which will make you move in different ways to what you might be familiar with, like running or cycling, this change in activity challenges your body and therefore helps you push your body further, burning more calories and increasing your fitness.
Tennis increases you metabolic rate
With short bursts of activity followed by small rests, a game of tennis is an excellent High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of workout has been proven to increase your aerobic capacity faster 3-4 times faster than endurance training, meaning you’ll be able to work harder and longer in the future. HIIT is also puts your body into repair cycle mode, helping rev your metabolism up for up to 24 hours after your workout. The moves in tennis use all of your basic muscle groups and help improve overall muscular strength. The forearm moves depends on the energy transfer from another part of the body, usually starting with the feet, all the muscles along the way are working to transfer that energy, meaning you’re getting a total body workout and strength training. Combined with the HIIT style workout, strengthening muscles means that even when not workout out, your muscles require more energy, increasing your metabolic rate. This means you will require more calories to maintain weight. By decreasing your calories smartly, tennis will help you and your weight loss journey.
Tennis is a great social activity
Working out doesn’t have to be a lonely activity. An activity such as tennis encourages you to be social, whether it be another club member, your partner or friends. By trying a new workout which you complete with others, you make it an activity that is fun, rather than a chore. In addition, the competition with your friends will properly give you an extra boost to work harder! Seeing tennis as a social activity, you are more likely to continue with it, leading to long term weight loss, which as we all know, is more sustainable and effective than rapid weight loss. In addition, tennis could be an excellent way to fit in exercise if you feel you don’t have the time, combing exercise with social activities, you’re killing two birds with one stone. And there are even tennis holidays you can go on!
Tennis will help increase your self-esteem
After 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise like tennis, your body begins to realize beta-endorphins. These increase your sense of well-being and your self-confidence. Combined with this exercise will decrease the amount of the stress hormone cortisol which can often halt weight loss, keeping your levels down will help with confidence, stress and anxiety. The increase in your physical fitness will also give you an ego boost. The increase to your self-esteem will help you keep motivated and on track for healthy living, making sure that you stay consistent and avoid those dreaded ‘burn-outs).
Overall tennis provides excellent benefits for you and your body. If you are looking for a new exercise activity to give you a bit of a weight loss boost, why not give tennis a go? Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore and trying a new way to exercise might help you be on a consistent fitness track. In time, making exercise a part of your daily routine alongside healthy eating will help you maintain a healthy weight.