Tennis Offers Total Body Workout

The championship form of Venus Williams demonstrates why head to toe, tennis is the ultimate workout. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty
Head to toe, tennis is the ultimate workout.

There aren't many sports activities that test every part of your body. Basketball and soccer are good for your legs and your aerobic health. Weightlifting makes you stronger.

Tennis takes care of everything.

It requires quickness and agility to get to the ball, core strength to get power into your shots, stamina to be able to play for a couple of sets and mental toughness to stay one step ahead of your opponent.

All that while having fun, working off stress and energizing your spirits.

Tennis sharpens the mind as it shapes the body. Every time a ball is hit, you must react and respond quickly. And if you're going to be successful, you must map out a strategy to use against your opponent. This helps keep your brain agile and young--and helps relieve tension.
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Swinging a racket for an hour or two will help tone your biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms, and will leave you stronger and more sculpted throughout your upper body.
Tennis forces you to stretch dozens of muscles all over your body, including a few you probably didn't know you had.
Core strength may be a hot workout topic these days, but tennis players have known about it for years. That's because the core, or trunk, which includes your abs and lower back muscles, does the hard work when you hit a tennis ball. It not only keeps you balanced as you run, it provides the power in your strokes, along with your legs and upper body.
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Your leg muscles--calves, hamstrings and quadriceps--get a full workout from playing tennis. What's more, the powering explosive movements you make in tennis, such as taking a first step toward the ball or changing direction in a split second, are great for strengthening your "fast twitch" muscle fibers, which are essential to explosive, anaerobic types of activity.
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Interval training is a great way to improve heart function, and tennis trains the heart in an interval fashion. Your body works at a higher level as it runs around the court and then recovers at a lower intensity during the 20 to 30 seconds between points. This is the exercise routine often used on treadmills and elliptical trainers--and a lot more fun.

To get started playing tennis in a location near you?visit the USTA's Tennis Welcome Center. Find more tennis technique information at the USTA Player Development Web site.

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