There’s no doubt tennis is a wonderful sport and something I am passionate about. It’s not just the thrill of hitting the little green ball and perhaps winning an important point, it’s the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is good. Not to mention there’s a fantastic social side to it too. I’ve made many new friends since I started playing tennis so I’ve always got a tennis partner when I want a game. It’s an invigorating sport, great for keeping fit and it’s something all the family can enjoy. As well as playing, it’s super to watch too – who doesn’t feel themselves totally immersed in the US Open, Wimbledon or the other Grand Slam title tournaments? Plus I love picking up tennis tips from the tennis greats!
My Body Loves Tennis…
I don’t play tennis to win trophies of course; I play it for pure enjoyment and mental exhilaration. I also play tennis to stay in shape because it gives me a full body workout. When you play tennis you are always on the move. You are up on your feet, running to get to that lob, twisting your body to play a backhand and turning to slice the ball over the net. Unlike going to the gym, I don’t even notice the workout because I am so engrossed in the game I’m playing. It’s much more pleasurable experience than a gruelling hour with my personal trainer! As an amateur player (although I hope I can hold my own when I play a game with a semi-professional player) I burn up to 600 calories an hour. I think that’s a fantastic way of staying healthy especially as I’m on court up to 2 hours at a time.
My Heart Loves Tennis…
Playing tennis is good for the heart too. The constant movement helps your heart to pump blood round your body and reduces blood pressure. I find it’s a great stress reliever, if ever I feel a little anxious just one hour on the tennis court helps me to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. This is good for the heart because your heart doesn’t need excessive stress.
My Mind Loves Tennis…
Tennis is a sport which engages your mind, you have to think strategically and make split second decisions. This is excellent for working out your brain as it stimulates it, making it think very quickly. Did you know that it’s a sport recommended for those with early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? This is because our brains need oxygen to work and the more exercise you do, the more oxygen you bring to your brain so tennis helps your brain function better. A healthy brain can help to boost memory and your capacity for learning. Dementia sufferers often report feeling large amounts of stress and tennis soothes a worried mind.
Remember, tennis is very social so it helps with growing social skills too. Not only that, tennis has beneficial effects on mood, helping you to feel positive and happy and I believe it’s great for mental determination and emotional strength.
Staying Safe Playing Tennis
The best part of playing tennis for me is being outside, feeling the breeze, enjoying the sunshine, the handsome tennis club’s building I play at and the scent of freshly mowed lawns if I’m on a grass court. I do play indoors if the weather isn’t good but it’s not quite the same so I prefer outdoor courts. However, living in a hot climate means there are safety risks when it comes to the sun so I play early morning or late afternoon/early evening when the sun isn’t as strong. I never play between 11.00am and 4.00pm as the sun is too dangerous. I am very conscious of the sun’s harmful rays, whatever time of day, so here are my top tips to staying sun-safe while playing tennis:
- I always make sure that I am wearing sufficient amounts of sunscreen on all exposed areas and I only use factor 50.
- I also make my own flavoured water, I slice strawberries, lemons and limes and drop theme into a 3.5 pint bottle of water. This sweetens the water naturally and stops me from dehydrating. Another tip is to drink before you play a tennis game in hot weather, but don’t be tempted to over-drink because there’s nothing more uncomfortable than running around a court with water sloshing in your belly!
- I wear a hat to protect my hair, top of my head and my face.
- I wear tennis whites but I choose special clothing which has its own UPF protection. You will see here I am wearing my Nike Dri-FIT UV top with a Nike Tennis Skirt. This skirt has built-in leggings (sometimes called Skapris) keeping my legs cool and protected.
- I prefer to wear specialist sunglasses to play tennis, I love my Bolle tennis sunglasses because not only do they look fabulous, they protect my eyes from the sun and because they are specialist, they also give me the ability to see the tennis ball against any background.
Tennis always makes me smile, I believe it’s impossible to play a game without feeling content and even when I’ve had a tough day I feel I lighten the load after a good game. What sport makes you smile?