Playing tennis and other sports that are social might add years to your life, according to a new epidemiological study of Danish men and women.
We all know that regular participation in physical activity is good for us, but there’s clearly something special about tennis.
The study shows correlation, not causation, and the reasons are unclear, but here are a few suspects:
- It’s social. Interacting with other people during and after the game is good for us.
- It’s hard work in short bursts. High Intensity Interval Training is the most efficient way to improve our cardio-vascular fitness (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-intensity_interval_training).
- It’s Mental! Ball tracking, anticipation, strategic planning and (not least) behavior and stress control are part of the challenge.
- It’s complicated. The physical and mental complexity of tennis mean there’s always something new to learn.
- It’s whole body. Tennis engages the whole body, requiring and stimulating strength, flexibility, balance and coordination.
- It’s adaptable. You can have fun playing tennis through an incredibly wide range of ages, skill levels and physical fitness.
- It’s safe. You can safely play tennis from when you first learn to walk, until (and even if) you can only walk.
- It’s outdoors. Tennis gets you out into the fresh air and sunshine (and with a great river view if you’re one of the lucky ones).
- It’s fun. Who doesn’t get a buzz when you nail that serve into the corner or burn a passing shot down the line (even if you weren’t aiming there)?
Google “Live Longer, Play Tennis” for more, or for the science, click here: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30538-X/fulltext