I was watching a double tennis match between some girls and the Williams sisters when my daughter walked in with a British Journal of Sports Medicine that was recently published by a study that is aimed at exploring the role of tennis playing in promoting health and disease prevention.
I read that through extensive and often tedious review of old case studies/, researchers found a goldmine of information related to tennis and its health benefits. Dozens of studies were reviewed that were related to such topics as the physical fitness of tennis players, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease in tennis players and how tennis effects bone health.
I also read on the internet that playing tennis on a regular basis can help maintain or improve balance, mobility, agility, strength and fitness. It also helps burn calories. According to the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute exercise physiologist and avid tennis player Gordon Blackburn, Ph.D., research shows that three hours of moderate aerobic exercise every
week can cut the risk of developing heart disease by 50 percent.
"Playing tennis at a moderate to vigorous intensity on a regular basis," says Dr. Blackburn, "is a good way to get your aerobic exercise. You'll exercise your muscles and burn calories. Tennis can even help lower your blood pressure. All of that helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease or of having a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke."
A 135-pound woman playing an hour of tennis can burn 330 calories during doubles and 420 calories during singles, says Dr. Blackburn. An average-sized man playing an hour of tennis can burn about 425 calories during doubles and 600 calories during singles. In fact, says Dr. Blackburn, you’ll burn more calories playing three hours of tennis per week than you will doing three hours of light weightlifting, bowling or golfing.
“If you complement the tennis with other aerobic activities such as brisk walking or cycling, so that you are getting some sort of aerobic exercise most days of the week,” says Dr. Blackburn, “you can make an even bigger impact on improving heart health.”
For instance, numerous recent studies, says Dr. Blackburn, have documented the physiologic benefits of walking on a regular basis and at a moderate intensity.
Bjorn Borg, the stoic tennis-playing Swede who won five straight Wimbledon and six French Open singles titles, was famous for his calm, cool demeanour on the court. For a time, he was dubbed "Ice Borg." His conditioning was legendary, and so was his resting heart rate, a reported 45 beats per minute.
Whether true or not, the story about Borg's tranquil cardiac tissue underscores an important point about tennis: playing it on a regular basis is good for your heart. It's also good for the body and mind. In fact, playing tennis on a regular basis produces physical, physiologic and psychological benefits.
Our very own President is a keen tennis player, and the benefits can be seen. He has managed to maintain his weight all these years. Well, I wish to see him play one of these days.
These benefits include increased burning of calories, reduction in blood pressure and reduced stress. All of these benefits play a role in reducing a person’s risk of developing heart disease, the number-one killing disease among men and women.