Why Tennis Is a Great Sport for Seniors
If your idea of tennis comes from watching professional tournaments on TV, you might think it’s a game suitable only for fleet-footed athletes who can cover the court in a few strides and send power serves rocketing over the net. But tennis is a versatile sport. While it can be played with pro-level intensity, it can also be played at a more moderate pace, making it a fun way for seniors to stay active in retirement. Played at any level of intensity, tennis offers a host of health benefits. Here are a few of the benefits of tennis for seniors:
Builds Muscle Strength
Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, making older adults more susceptible to disability and increasing their risk of falls. On the tennis court, you’re volleying, lobbing, serving, and using leg strength to move toward the ball and drive power into your swing. No wonder tennis can improve your upper and lower body strength. Plus, swinging a tennis racket works your abdominal muscles, improving core strength, which can help with balance and stability.
Benefits Cardiovascular Health
As an aerobic activity that elevates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping, tennis has a positive impact on heart health. Research shows that playing tennis regularly can decrease body fat, lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, playing a game of doubles tennis counts toward the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Or up the intensity level by playing singles tennis.
Boosts Bone Density
Among the benefits of tennis for seniors is its impact on bone density. Like muscle mass, bone density can decrease with age, leaving older adults susceptible to fractures. Weight-bearing activities like tennis, which require your body to work against gravity, stimulate your bones to produce more tissue, making bones stronger and denser, and protecting against osteoporosis and fractures.
Promotes Mental Health
Aerobic activities like tennis can lower stress, boost mood, and reduce anxiety and depression. These mood-enhancing benefits are due in part to an exercise-induced reduction of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. At the same time, exercise stimulates the release of “feel good” hormones — dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins — known to promote a sense of well-being.
Encourages Social Engagement
Tennis is a social game. Through camaraderie and competition, you’ll enjoy another benefit of tennis for seniors — a sense of belonging. That sense of connection with others can help prevent social isolation — a problem that affects 25% of people age 65 and older — which is associated with increased risk of premature death, dementia, heart disease and stroke.
Chronic sleep deprivation can undermine body, mind and spirit. It not only makes you less alert and prone to daytime sleepiness, but it can also affect your cognition and may eventually lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Insomnia can be more common in people over age 60, but studies show that exercise can be an effective way for older adults to treat chronic insomnia.
If you’re looking for a senior living community where you can enjoy an active retirement, Cypress Village has the amenities and services you want. Here, you can participate in a host of activities from art classes and billiards to woodworking and yoga. The maintenance-free lifestyle in our independent living community gives you the opportunity to do more of what you love, discover new hobbies, make new friends and explore the cultural attractions of Jacksonville, Florida. Contact us to find out more or to schedule a visit.