It’s day 6 of 14 of tournament play, and all eyes remain on the 20 grass courts that comprise the historic Wimbledon grounds. I’m quite the fan of tennis myself, and as an American transplant in London, I feel it is my duty to catch a match while I’m here. But alas, I didn’t snag any tickets. So, instead of celebrating the Fourth of July, I’ll just pack a picnic and head on over to Henman Hill. It’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday if you ask me.
Here at Baby2Body, we’re all in proper Wimbledon spirit, and that means we’re in the mood for some ‘game, set, match’ play ourselves. We’re ready to trade in winter trips to the gym and enjoy some summer sun and fresh air on some outdoor courts. And here’s why we’re all about tennis: for starters, it’s a sport you can carry with you for the better part of a lifetime, it’s a big-time calorie-burning exercise, it duals as a mental workout and to be honest – we really love a cute tennis skirt.
If you swap an hour-long jog for 60 minutes of active tennis play you can still burn around 600 calories – and while we enjoy a good run, we’re always in the mood for a little friendly competition. What’s more, tennis is a unique sport in that it is both aerobic (exercise with oxygen) in that it’s an endurance sport, and anaerobic (exercise without oxygen) as you make many short sprints back and forth. The combination of aerobic and anaerobic fitness in this one game improves your cardiovascular fitness, agility, balance and flexibility, as well as increasing your speed, power and leg strength.
The benefits of tennis are not limited to the body alone. Researchers at the University of Illinois reported in a study that when playing tennis – a game of tactics and analytical decisions – your brain generates new nerve connections as you strategise throughout the match. What’s more, Jack Groppel, a cofounder of Johnson & Johnson’s Human Performance Institute, considers tennis to be one of the best sports for not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. Because tennis requires a great amount of mental presence, regular playing can help you learn to manage mistakes, address and minimize stress appropriately, plan and implement strategies for solving problems, and learn how to make the most of your recovery time.
Best of all, an afternoon match with a good friend is a great way to take time for yourself, challenge your body, and have fun while you’re at it. Do yourself a favour today by picking up a racket and heading to your local tennis courts. And if you were lucky enough to get tickets to any upcoming Wimbledon matches – bring loads of SPF, it’s (probably) going to be a scorcher.