Tennis for Weight Loss and Fitness
By WLR Staff
Tennis can be a fun way to add a bit of variety and excitement to your exercise for weight loss regime, but you need to think about the way you’re going to play tennis in order to maximise the weight loss and fitness potential.
This is because tennis tends to be a stop-start kind of game, whereas the best exercise for weight loss, and cardiovascular fitness, is aerobic – where you keep moving, and burning calories, for a sustained period of time.
Six Top Tips for Tennis and Weight Loss
- Play tennis with someone who also wants to lose weight – they will also be focussed on playing in a way that helps weight loss.
- Use a ball machine for 10-15 minutes of your tennis workout time, this will ensure a sustained period of activity.
- Have a long warm up - playing in such a way as to keep the ball ‘in-play’ for as long as possible – you could challenge yourselves as to how many times you can get the ball back and forth over the net without interruption.
- Play the game with only one ball and run for it every time it goes out of play.
- Play against a wall and keep it going without losing the ball for as long as possible
- During waiting times, jump up and down, step side to side or jog on the spot to keep moving.
The Fitness Benefits of Playing Tennis
So how do tennis and fitness go hand in hand? What are the benefits of a tennis workout? Tennis as a form of exercise can help you to do more than just burn calories…
Tennis helps to improve:
- Aerobic and anaerobic fitness - by burning fat and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
- Speed - through a series of side-to-side and up and back sprints to chase the ball.
- Co-ordination - since you have to move into position and then adjust your upper body to hit the ball successfully.
- Flexibility - due to the constant stretching and manoeuvring to return the ball toward your opponent.
The workout a game of tennis gives you results in explosive movements and stretching, providing your body with so many benefits it’s easy to see why tennis is a good choice when working towards better fitness.
A tennis workout is good for you!
Whether you decide to play on a grass court, clay court, or no court at all, the effects of playing tennis for just three hours a week can significantly increase health and fitness levels according to physician Ralph Paffenbarger of Harvard University School of Public Health. (Paffenbarger studied over 10,000 people over a period of 20 years in his landmark 'College Alumni Health Study).
Tennis and Calories
Playing tennis burns more calories than:
Playing tennis for fun can burn around 169 calories in 30 minutes for a woman, and 208 calories in 30 minutes for an average man.*
Tennis also outperforms golf, inline skating and most other sports in developing positive personality characteristics such as sportsmanship, according to Dr. Jim Gavin - author of The Exercise Habit.
*Averages based on a woman at 5’6” and 10st 7lb and man at 5’10” and 14st.
Our exercise database uses your personal info such as height and weight to give you a tailored calculation for how many calories you burn doing different exercises and activities. Try it free for 24 hours.
The Lawn Tennis Association is the governing body for the game of tennis in Great Britain. This site offers information on local clubs, news, articles and an on-line shop which offers a 20% discount to LTA members.
This is the site of tennis coach David Sammel. It helps players at every level to build the game and enjoy it. It offers coaching videos and CDs.
With the 'Hitting Zone' section of this site, players of all standards around the country can find a partner for games.
This site has '101 Tips' section for those looking to improve their game.
Lists clubs in your county.
Play Tennis 2002 runs from April to July 13th and offers free day(s) tennis at clubs, parks and ITI centres. Its aim is to make the sport more accessible by giving people of all ages and abilities the chance to play.
Get started playing tennis for yourself – see our handy ‘try a sport’ guide to tennis which will tell you what you need to give it a go. We also have advice on how to play tennis – the rules, scoring, and tips for tennis beginners.