Whoopee It’s Wimbledon!
If there’s one body-beautiful sport that plays host to a whole load of female ‘fitspiration’… You guessed it, it’s tennis.
With Wimbledon looming, we’re celebrating this mesmerising game. Mainly the fact that it’s a great starting sport – especially in summer – for anyone wanting to improve their fitness. But also the fact that it’s fronted by some incredibly fit, inspiring, empowered women.
Top to toe, tennis is the ultimate work out.
Today we’re telling you why tennis is amazing for your body - all the benefits - with the help of some of the sport’s most well-loved ladies to back us up.
Because it's a low-impact sport, and not entirely dependent on the strength of the player, tennis is a great game for all. Why not round up your rackets and get everyone involved on a warm July evening? In the meantime, sit back, grab a bowl of strawberries and simply enjoy this post.
A total all-rounder
Tennis takes care of every aspect of fitness; you need to be nimble and agile to get to the ball, and stamina to go game, set and match. You need to hone your core strength to power your serve and drive the ball. It’s even a workout for the mind – you’ve got to be focused and tough, staying one step ahead of your opponent. This game will test every part of your body.
Here comes the science part…
During a game, tennis players must use both their aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is great for the heart – it’s the cardiovascular workout that burns fat. In contrast, anaerobic fitness helps your body’s muscles to use oxygen more efficiently – this is where you tone up.
This is a result of the short outbursts of intensity combined with the brief periods of rest involved in tennis – it’s a truly unique workout that shapes your body in a recognisable way. Tennis is also effective on every different part of the player, including:
Consider the power it takes to serve the ball. Now consider it again, knowing that in 2014, German player Sabine Lisicki served the ball at an eye-boggling 131mph, beating both the Williams sisters by a clear 2mph. Serving plus swinging a racket for an afternoon will help tone biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms, leaving you stronger and more sculpted throughout your entire upper body.
Can’t stand crunches? Then for you, tennis might be too good to be true. When you hit a ball it’s your core that does the work – that’s your abs and lower back muscles. As you run it’s your core that keeps you balanced, providing the power in every stroke.
Core strength might be a total workout trend right now, but believe us – tennis players have known about it for years.
The lower parts of your body get a full workout from playing tennis. That’s your legs, including your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes, all getting a serious seeing to on the court.
Didn’t even know you had muscle fibres? Don’t worry – neither did we at first. Now (after a few sets of tennis) our fibre game is super strong, and yours can be too. But why?
Think about the powerful, explosive movements you make when you play tennis, like taking a first step towards the ball during a serve, or changing direction in a split second. These unique movements are great for strengthening your "fast-twitch" muscle fibres, which are essential to explosive, anaerobic types of activity.
Interval training is another huge fitness trend right now. It’s great for improving heart function – and tennis is a cardio workout in the truest interval style. Your body is pushed to perform at a high intensity as you run across the court, the it recovers at lower levels during the 20 to 30 seconds between each point.
This is the type of exercise routine you’ll fine on the ‘fat burning’ option on elliptical machines and treadmills – only it’s a hell of a lot more fun.
Not only will it shape and sculpt your body, tennis will sharpen the mind too. To play a good game, you need lightning fast reactions, every time the ball is hit. To win, you need to map out an unpredictable strategy that’ll keep your opponent on their toes.
This helps to keep your brain focused, agile and on the ball – quite literally. It’s also great for relieving tension and taking your mind off other things.
The verdict? An ace workout that we simply love!
Tennis is a game all about strength – both physical and mental.
Hopefully learning a little more about the sport, plus these inspirational women, will inspire you to pick up a racket, head for the court, hit a few balls and see how you feel.
For now? We’ll leave you with these parting words from the simply perfect Serena Williams:
"When I was young I thought I should be built more like an athlete — long and lean — not with a womanly figure. I learned to be proud of my curves and to embrace my large boobs and my butt. It's all about loving who you are and realizing that you're beautiful."