Tennis is Ace for Keeping You Young

The New Year is a time when many Resolve to improve their fitness, not just to improve their self-esteem, but also because being in better shape helps prolong your life. According to recent research, playing racquet sports like tennis could be one of the best ways to get yourself fit and help you to live longer.

The study, by Oxford University and researchers in Finland and Australia, followed more than 80,000 people for an average of nine years to find out and compare different sports’ impact on protection against early death. The study found that people who played racquet sports regularly were the least likely to die over the study period, reducing their individual risk by 47 per cent, compared with people who did no exercise.

Simon Moyes, an Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in sports injuries, comments on the news, “Tennis in particular is beneficial both in its ability to help you live longer but also to improve the quality of life. Combining both physical activity – with a mixture of moderate exercise and cardiovascular exercise – with a sociable, recreational activity is the concrete way to a healthy, long, and happy life.

Moyes continued, "One of the big advantages of tennis is that you could continue playing tennis well into your 70s or late in life. We shouldn’t forget that exercise should also be enjoyable, and playing tennis with friends or a partner is one of the most sociable activities you could spend your time doing on a Sunday morning - promoting benefits physically, mentally and emotionally."

According to Mr Moyes, the main benefits of tennis include:

1. A full body workout

Tennis not only offers a cardiovascular workout but it also exercises your upper and lower limbs as well as your mind.  Playing tennis requires agility, flexibility and continuous movement, making your joints and body more flexible. This is especially important in middle and older age when our joints and muscles become less supple, making injuries more likely.

2. Keep your weight down

Keeping weight, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage down, within the guidelines, is essential to health and longevity. Obesity represents a significant and rising problem within the UK and tackling this is essential to a healthy life. It can cause many health problems - as well as the more well-known links to diabetes and heart disease it also plays a part in the development of osteoarthritis. Obesity is the number-one preventable risk factor for osteoarthritis. The strain from additional weight on the joints can result in joint pain and arthritis. For women who have a BMI greater than 25 have a significantly higher risk of developing osteoarthritis compared to women who have a normal-range BMI.While playing tennis, men can burn up to 560 calories an hour, and women burn up to 420 calories an hour, contributing greatly to the maintenance of a healthy weight.

3. Improves fitness and reduces risk of injury

As a demanding sport, playing regular tennis requires a high degree of cardiovascular fitness. Without a firm foundation of fitness, vigorous physical activity can increase the risk of injury to those engaged in everyday tasks and sport. These include joint injuries that can damage the articular cartilage that forms the surfaces of synovial joints, being fitter means that you are less likely to fall or sustain injuries.

4. Protects your cartilage

Physical activity and playing sports has a positive and beneficial effect on our musculoskeletal system from moderate exercise to more intense vigorous sports. Cartilage doesn’t respond well to a sedentary life, it is nourished by regular activity and playing tennis can help to maintain healthy cartilage.

5. Develop social skills

Playing tennis is sociable, it is an interactive sport. Social engagement and communication is vital to wellbeing as well as to physical health. Those who play tennis often have larger social networks and are more likely to keep up activities into later life, which are both proven to be good for health.

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