Will US Open Men's Final Inspire More Exercise and Tennis?
As the fit and agile figures of Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro command attention on the court during the US Open Men's Final 2009 , will some people be inspired to get up off the couch and exercise, perhaps even play tennis?
Given the epidemic of overweight and obesity in the United States, physical exercise in any form, be it tennis, running, brisk walking, jogging, rowing, bicycling, swimming, and others, is encouraged not only for weight loss but for cardiovascular fitness and overall well-being. With the impressive tennis skills demonstrated during events such as the US Open Men’s Final, Wimbleton, the French Open, and others, one wonders how many people do more than dream they are playing tennis and actually take up a racket.
According to the United States Tennis Association, the moniker of “sport for a lifetime” should be taken to heart. People who play three hours of moderately vigorous tennis each week reportedly can reduce their risk of death by 50 percent and enjoy greater optimism and self-esteem. Dr. Jim Gavin, author of The Exercise Habit, notes that tennis outperforms many other sports, including inline skating and golf, in developing positive personality characteristics. When it comes to burning calories, a competitive game of tennis can burn more than golf, soccer, bowling, basketball, and baseball.
The United States Tennis Association encourages people to take up tennis not only for the joy of the game but for the exercise and health benefits as well. Playing tennis regularly can improve:
* Cardiovascular fitness and the ability to lose or maintain weight
* Anaerobic fitness when you engage in short, intense bursts of activity followed by periods of relative rest
* Leg strength as you shift and move about the court
* Agility by forcing you to change direction many times
* Bone density, which is critical for helping prevent osteoporosis
* Dynamic balance as you start and stop hundreds of times. Better balance is important as we age because of the risk of falling
* Hand-eye coordination every time you anticipate the tennis ball
* Flexibility as you constantly have to stretch and reach to return the ball
Playing tennis can enhance psychological features as well. Tennis can help you
* Learn sportsmanship
* Develop discipline as you work on your skills during practice sessions
* Manage stress effectively
* Learn how to plan and initiate strategies
* Learn teamwork and cooperation when you play doubles
* Manage mistakes and decide how to correct them
* Develop social skills through interaction both on and off the court
* Discover how to have fun, exercise, and improve your health all at the same time
Although the tennis pros at the US Open Men’s Final and other professional tennis events tend to be young, the game can be played by kids of all ages. From the time children can learn to properly hold a tennis racket until they reach their eighth or ninth decades, tennis is a “sport for a lifetime.”
United States Tennis Association