Posted on Sep 22, 2020, 4 p.m.
According to a recent Harvard Health study, racquet sports are a good way to ramp up your fitness. Not only can hitting objects across the net be fun, but they are also an effective way to get into shape.
Racquet sports from badminton to pickleball, squash, ping pong, and tennis are great at getting your heart pumping, strengthening muscles in your legs, arms and core. Several long term studies have linked racquet sports to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and longevity.
"Playing tennis is an amazing workout. And no matter how good you are, you can have fun doing it," says Joe DiVincenzo, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and former competitive tennis player.
Racquet sports are a good example of interval training (HIIT) as during a match you are having fun while doing frequent and short bursts of high-intensity activity that is interspersed with less vigorous movements that engage the muscles throughout the upper and lower body to challenge the heart. These cardiovascular friendly sports burn about twice the energy compared to a nightly brisk walk, typically burning between 420 to 600 calories in an hour-long match while improving fitness, strength, agility, and health.
Move over volley sports, racquet sports are taking over as the links to a longer lifespan along with increased cardiovascular health, and improved arm, core, and leg strength. Racquet sports can be enjoyed by people of all ages as a sport or as a recreational activity with family and friends. Not only are these physically challenging but mentally as well as you must anticipate your opponent's next move and what yours should be as well.
Racquet sports can help to increase aerobic capacity, lower resting heart rate and blood pressure, improve metabolic function, increase bone density, lower body fat, improve reaction times, and improve muscle tone, strength and flexibility. They can provide great physical workouts, help to reduce stress, be a great way to meet people or spend time with friends/family, and be a non-impact sport that is suitable for all ages regardless of skill set.
While enjoying racquet sports make sure that you don’t overdo it, and mix up your physical activities with other low impact sports. Be sure to have plenty of fluids on hand to stay hydrated. Avoid playing with a pre-existing illness or injury, when in doubt talk to a doctor. Be sure to warm up before playing, and play according to your limits. Consider playing inside if the outdoor courts are wet to keep safety in mind.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.