The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

5 Reasons Why You Should Play Tennis, According To White Plains Podiatrists

Posted by on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

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Tennis has been called “the sport for a lifetime” because children start as young as four, continue throughout their teens, and can continue playing well into old age. It’s easy to get started with the sport by spending just $20 for a racket and a few balls. (Though, as White Plains podiatrists, we insist if you plan to play tennis for more than three hours a week, that you invest in specialized tennis shoes to protect your feet and ankles, too!) Doctors like to see patients remain active for years to come. Here are five reasons why we encourage you to pick up tennis, whether you’re old or young.

why you should play tennis
Playing tennis is the ideal physical, mental, and social activity, say White Plains sports doctors. [Image Source: Unsplash user Ben Hershey]

Reasons Why You Should Play Tennis

1. Tennis Improves Anaerobic and Aerobic Fitness

Tennis improves cardiovascular health while maintaining higher energy levels for a sustained time, and also improves how efficiently muscles use oxygen when short, intense bursts of activity are followed by rest. In fact, the best tennis players condition their bodies through sprinting, cycling, and swimming (which boosts aerobic capacity), as well as circuit training and core strengthening (which increases muscle mass and strength).

2. You Burn Loads of Calories

Tennis burns more calories than cycling, rollerblading, or aerobics. According to Livestrong, a 150-pound person can expect to burn 288 calories in an hour of doubles tennis or 414 calories in an hour of singles tennis. Check out the FitDay calculator to see how many calories you’d roughly burn, based on your gender, weight, and height. Singles tennis can be a great way to lose weight, while doubles will help you maintain. One woman said she lost nearly 160 pounds after taking up tennis. Since tennis is so fun, it’s easier to commit to regularly playing and staying active, which will help you burn calories on a regular basis.

3. Tennis Fine-Tunes the Body

Tennis helps you develop better:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Speed
  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Fine motor control
  • Flexibility

The sprinting, jumping, and lunging of tennis improve your ability to accelerate. The explosive action as you move in anticipation of your opponent’s next move improves power, while the side-to-side steps and chasing-the-ball back sprints boost your speed. The adjustments you make between the upper and lower body to hit the ball improves coordination. The changes in direction improve agility, while the starts and stops fine-tune your balance.

4. There Are Psychological Benefits, Too

As a social exercise much like golf or bowling, it’s easy to get hooked on tennis for the friendships forged and sustained through gameplay. Tennis for kids is an ideal way to teach good sportsmanship, perseverance, stress recovery, and how to manage mistakes. Nearly half of all tennis-playing students have straight “A” grades in school—twice the number of non-athletes. Brain scans of elite tennis players revealed changes to nerve connections and plasticity that accounted for improvements in performance and overall cognition. SCSU researchers found that tennis players scored higher in optimism, self-esteem, and vigor, and lower in depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, and tension.

5. Your Lifetime Risk of Death Is Lower

Epidemiologist Ralph Paffenbarger studied over 10,000 people over 20 years and concluded that people who participated in moderate-intensity activity for just two to three hours per week cut their risk of death in half. He used tennis as one of the primary examples of “moderate-intensity activity” assessed in his research. Another study found that swimmers, rowers, racket sport players, and Zumba dancers had the best odds of staving off death from any cause, particularly heart disease and stroke; in fact, researchers reported a 47% lower risk of death among tennis players.

Tennis Injuries & How To Prevent Them

While there are many benefits of tennis, you still need to take care not to injure yourself. Some of the most common tennis injuries we treat include: Patellar Tendonitis of the knee, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, and heel bruise. Injury prevention depends much on cross-training and total body conditioning, as well as proper footwear selection and keeping a reasonable training schedule.

A sports medicine doctor should be part of your healthcare team if you are physically active. Our White Plains sports doctors specialize in any condition affecting the foot and ankle. We are here to advise you, whether it’s a question like “What type of shoe should I buy for my particular feet?” or “Why do my heels hurt in the morning?”

We have a full range of diagnostic tools right here in the office, as well as advanced therapies from custom orthotic fabrication and platelet-rich plasma injections, to pain-reducing lasers and training in the latest surgical procedures. With offices in White Plains and Manhattan, The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine is a top source of tennis injury prevention and care.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.