During the past 35 years, I have never been away from the sport for more than a year. That time was due to injuries and not loss of interest. Other than my husband, it is the only thing in my life that has consistently held my attention. I truly love the game and need to play it. It is not my only form of exercise, but it is by far the most enjoyable and the one that I devote the most time to.
Recently I ran across an article printed by the USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association, that confirmed the health benefits that I equate to a lifetime of playing tennis, alone with many of the mental and emotional benefits that I have enjoyed as well.
The bullet points below were taken directly from the article that you will find in its entirety here.
• People who participate in tennis three hours per week at a moderately vigorous intensity cut in half their risk of death from any cause, according to the late Dr. Ralph Paffenbarger, who was an internationally recognized exercise authority and studied more than 10,000 people for 20 years.
• Tennis players scored higher in vigor, optimism and self-esteem while scoring lower in depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and tension than other athletes and nonathletes, according to Dr. Joan Finn and colleagues at Southern Connecticut State University.
• Since tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and promote a lifetime of continuing development of the brain, reported scientists at the University of Illinois.
• Tennis outperforms golf and most other sports in developing positive personality characteristics, according to Dr. Jim Gavin, author of "The Exercise Habit."
• Competitive tennis burns more calories than aerobics or cycling, according to studies in caloric expenditures.
Need more motivation? Tennis is a sport based on angles, geometry and physics, therefore, problem solving skills are enhanced over time. It's about teamwork, communication and trust; all important life skills. And like most sports, playing tennis builds character. Personally, I like meeting the physical challenges year after year, I enjoy the instant connection that I have to other tennis players regardless of our differences and I appreciate the way the focus and drive that I learned from tennis spills over into other aspects of my life.
If you are reasonably fit, it is never too late to learn tennis and to encourage others, like your children or grandchildren to learn to play. The USTA offers some great programs throughout the US and even if you are not a member of a tennis club, there are most likely community (free) tennis courts in your area. Find them and join the game. It truly is a life-long sport that can be enjoyed by anyone.