A new survey by the Local Tennis Leagues shows that its members have experienced a range of health benefits since taking up the sport. Further research by the University of Oxford indicates that tennis improves strength, flexibility, stamina and cardio-vascular fitness and finds that those who play tennis actually live longer.
Over 90 per cent of members say they feel fitter, and 86 per cent report improvements in their mood and mental health. A third of respondents also said they had lost weight – in many cases as much as half a stone.
Dr Charlie Foster, one of the authors of the report, said: ‘The Local Tennis Leagues survey shows that tennis players experience a range of physical and mental health benefits which is consistent with previous research. Tennis offers its players a perfect mix of heart and lung fitness, muscular strength with balance and co-ordination, alongside enjoyment and social benefits.’
Nigel Billen, who founded LTL with Sally Kinnes in 2005, added: ‘When we set up Local Tennis Leagues, with just a single league in Highbury Fields in Islington, we had no idea how popular it would become. Our survey partly explains why our players are so keen to keep playing. All exercise offers health benefits but the full body workout that tennis provides, combined with mental stimulation, is rare to find in any other sport. One of the main things all our players say is that it’s not just the fitness and the competition that makes them want to keep playing, but also the friendships they have made.’