Leading an active lifestyle has countless benefits for your health and you may be interested to hear that research has linked racquet sports, above other sports such as football, running and cycling, with increased length of life.
Of course, like many sports for over 50’s, tennis is great for burning calories and fat and improving anaerobic and aerobic health.
Unlike some other sports though, one of the great things about tennis is that it provides a full body workout. Your shoulders and upper back get their workout from striking the ball, whilst your lower body is used to run, jump and crouch as you move around the court.
Similarly, the demands on your whole body enhances flexibility, balance, coordination and even bone health. Improved flexibility is a fantastic benefit in that it can give you a wide range of motion even for every day tasks, as well as reducing the risk of injury during sports. This is why flexibility is such a key pillar for lifelong fitness and staying fit and healthy beyond 50.
The quick movements in tennis also require high energy levels, which is linked to cardiovascular health and as such lowers the risk of heart disease, heart attack and strokes.
Now, we are not suggesting you quit any other sports you may already enjoy in favour of a tennis racquet, as any activity that gets your body moving can improve your health.
In fact, tennis is a great way to cross-train for other sports too. You will benefit from increased speed and longer endurance suited to a whole array of other sports, which can go alongside your new (or existing) love of tennis!
So if your ready to (re)discover a love of tennis, here’s some handy tips to help you reap the benefits.
Oh, and did we mention you certainly don’t need to be a pro and it’s great fun too!
Tips for Playing Tennis Over 50
You can help prepare your body for an active game of tennis before you even make it onto the court. Balance is certainly a key requirement of the game, so practise standing on one leg (don’t forget to keep swapping legs!) or walking in a straight line regularly during the week. Similarly, your talent at the sport will benefit from some muscle strength, so try to incorporate some strength training particularly on your arms, legs and back.
Now that you are on the court, ready and raring to play, it is important to make sure you never skip a good warm-up. This should be an activity that gets your heart rate up and blood flowing to your muscles, such as a brisk walk or a quick jog. Use the tennis court lines to incorporate your balance training too!
Play within your Abilities
Whilst you may not be able to sprint around the court like you could in your twenties, there is nothing stopping you still playing a good game. You could try doubles to lower the demands on your body but always start with a relaxed rally back and forth, increasing speed slowly, over time. Keep an awareness of your physical limits- sometimes, chasing that drop shot simply isn’t worth the risk! It is also worth considering how often you play. Like with any sport, your body may need to recharge so allow yourself at least a day in between games.
Type of Court
From a professional point of view, a clay court can improve your game as it requires a greater control of the ball, but did you know a clay court is actually better on your joints too? So if you can find somewhere that has a clay court, it may well be worth the extra money or travel time to play on it!
How to Play Forehand and Backhand Shots
Learning how to play fore hand and backhand shots will mean you can enjoy rallies and make the most out of tennis.
The video below highlights some tips and advice for beginners looking to practice these 2 fundamental shots.
Keeping Fit with Tennis
Whether you are a professional, beginner or somewhere in between, tennis is a great way to enjoy time with friends and even make new ones. There is likely to be a tennis club local to you that will have groups for all ages you can join. You might like to invest a little time in doing some research into where to play and once you’re all set, get ready to enjoy the social aspect as well as the health benefits of such a great sport!