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The health benefits of tennis for seniors

Mar 9, 2012, 6 a.m.

If you want an idea of how good tennis can be for your health, just take a look at some of the participants of senior tennis tournaments . If what you see on the courts during these events--chasing balls and swinging rackets like silver-haired athletic gods--isn't enough to convince you that playing tennis just might be the secret to ultimate longevity, then you're not paying attention. Either that, or you're at the wrong tennis tourney.

If you want to know how to keep a healthy body into your senior years, you've got to take your cues from the experts. Doctors have reminded us for years that the most effective methods of staying in shape involve taking up activities that not only get our hearts pumping, but that are also so fun and engaging that we're not even aware we're exercising when we're doing them. Tennis is one of those activities, and you might be surprised at how effective it can be.

  1. Playing tennis lowers your blood pressure by giving you that all-important cardiovascular activity that's critical in preventing heart disease.
  2. Playing tennis burns calories at a much higher rate than many other exercises.
  3. Playing tennis helps improve your balance and mobility.

If all of this isn't enough to make you break out that old dusty racket and starting boning up on your skills to compete in some senior tennis tournaments , then listen to this: doctors also say that playing 3 hours of tennis per week is better for you than 3 hours of lifting weights. Tell your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger to take a hike, and make way for the frustrate John McEnroe that's been aching to get out.

As always, before you go charging into any tennis court, be sure you've got the official seal of approval from your doctor. The last thing you want to do is overdo it and land yourself in the hospital, or pull a muscle and sideline yourself while you could be out there enjoying yourself.

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