Health Benefits of Tennis

Learn to love tennis and serve every muscle in your body.

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on July 23, 2021
3 min read

When you maintain an active lifestyle, you improve your overall health while building strong muscles and bones. But over time, doing the same physical activities can become boring. If you’re looking for a new activity to add to your fitness routine, consider tennis.

Whether you’re an old pro or new to the sport, tennis is a great way to reach your fitness goals. According to the CDC website, all adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week to stay healthy. To break it down, you should commit to around 30 minutes of moderate physical activity like tennis five days per week.

If you prefer intense activities, like running, you should commit to at least 75 minutes per week. This equates to 15 minutes per day, five days per week. If you do a mix of moderate and more difficult activities, your recommended activity time will be somewhere between 75 and 150 minutes. Keep in mind that this is the minimum, and further exercise will generally improve your health.

Whole body workout. Tennis is an activity that works out your entire body:

  • You run across the court, working out your leg muscles
  • Your core is engaged as you keep your balance while chasing the ball
  • Your arms provide the power to swing your racket and hit the ball ‌
  • You improve your balance, flexibility, coordination, and agility all in one sport

Better health outlooks. Some studies show that playing tennis on a regular basis lowers your risk of heart disease by up to 56%. Tennis can also help you:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Boost your fitness
  • Have better stamina for everyday activities
  • Improve your aerobic and anaerobic abilities
  • Raise your bone density
  • Raise your metabolism
  • Lower your resting heart rate
  • Strengthen your immune syste‌m
  • Strengthen your muscles

Taking part in an activity like tennis regularly also improves blood flow to your brain, muscles, and organs. When your body has more available oxygen, you feel less fatigued and out of breath than you would otherwise.

Live longer. If you play tennis for health benefits, you can add years to your life. In fact, studies show that people who play tennis for around three hours per week live on average nine to ten years longer than people who are sedentary.

Lose weight. The calorie burn for tennis is between 400 and 600 calories per hour. Because of the active nature of the sport, you tend to burn body fat when playing. You’re also building lean muscle that, in turn, increases your metabolism. Tennis helps you lose weight and keep it off.

Improve your mental health. Tennis is a sport that requires quick thinking and split-second reactions. Your body creates new connections between the nerves in your brain, as you stay alert and think tactically. This may keep your mind sharp as you age.

Other benefits of playing tennis. Tennis is great for your health, but so are many other sports. What makes tennis different from other activities you can choose from? Tennis is a top choice for physical activity because:

  • Tennis requires playing with other people. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and meet new people.
  • You can play and get a good workout no matter what your skill level.
  • It helps reduce stress levels.
  • You can play on indoor or outdoor courts.

Tennis is a relatively low-impact sport, but it isn’t without risks. Any time you take part in a physical activity like tennis, you have the chance of injury. To prevent injuries, you can:

  • Listen to your body and take breaks if you’re sick or injured
  • Warm up your joints and muscles before beginning a game
  • Mix up your workout to include other activities that complement tennis
  • Use proper technique and playing style according to your fitness level
  • Take breaks as needed during a game to recuperate
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Avoid playing on wet courts and move your games inside when conditions are hazardous

While tennis is very beneficial to your health, it shouldn’t be the only activity you take part in. You can mix up your workout by including other cardio activities and strength training activities like:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Basketball or other active team sports
  • Weightlifting
  • Resistance band training
  • Bodyweight exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, squats, and lunges