Tennis, as a form of exercise, is actually a stress-buster, and there’s many theories as to why this might be.
A natural pain and stress reliever
There’s the belief that exercise leads to the production of endorphins in the brain that are released into the body, acting as natural pain and stress relievers and promoting feelings of euphoria and invigoration. Another is that exercising serves as a welcome distraction from the stresses of everyday life; you can’t think about these when you’re concentrating on beating an opponent on the match court.
Tennis, being a sport with multiple repeat opportunities – created by the unique scoring system – helps in keeping up your hope and optimism. But you don’t have to play a match to enjoy such psychological benefits. With multiple ways to approach the game, such as simply rallying without scoring, doing drills or playing different forms of the game like doubles, you can feel more in control of your tennis session because of the variety of options available.
There are several more mental health benefits that flow on from physical activity:
- Improved alertness – the negative effects of stress and fatigue on concentration and memory can be countered with exercise, and in the case of memory, even boosted
- Better regulation of serotonin – with this brain chemical linked to functions such as the sleep-wake cycle, appetite and libido, this can improve mood and feelings of wellbeing, and even help alleviate depression
- Increased calmness and relaxation – the theory goes that this is achieved because vigorous exercise can decrease muscle tension
- Enhanced body image and self-esteem – regular physical activity can lead to positive changes in our bodies, boosting our self-perception and self-confidence. There’s also the personal satisfaction that comes with taking charge and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
And with several studies indicating that those who exercise regularly have a more positive outlook, there’s plenty of incentive to pick up a racquet, head to your local courts and start playing tennis.