The perfect workout

Tennis fever is about to strike as the world’s top players come to town. Hitting the court is a smashing way to boost your health and lifestyle too…

This month Birmingham welcomes the world’s top women players to the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club. It’s the key tournament in the run-up to Wimbledon and draws thousands of fans to the city. But tennis isn’t a sport just for the pros. It’s also a great way of giving your body and mind a perfect workout. We asked Leyla Ogan, racquets manager at the Priory Club, about the health benefits – and here’s her five-point guide to the health benefits of getting out there on the court.

1. WHOLE BODY BOOST

Tennis is brilliant for the entire body. All that running, stopping, starting, jumping and crouching gives the lower body a good workout, while hitting the ball with backhand and forehand keeps your trunk, shoulders and upper back toned. Tennis also involves quick-fire changes of direction as you race around the court to return serves and volleys. And depending on the length and speed of a match you could run the equivalent of three to five miles. Speed and endurance, what more could you ask for from a work out?

2. CALORIE BURNER

On average, an amateur player will burn around 600 calories in one hour on court. If you’re really looking to lose weight then sign up for Cardio Tennis lessons. You don’t need to know how to play tennis to take part in these fun tennis-inspired workouts. It’s not about slices, back-hands, aces or smashes. It’s all about chasing the ball around the court for an hour to music, giving your heart a good workout and burning off lots calories in the process.

3. REDUCE THE RISK OF DIABETES & HEART DISEASE

Playing tennis regularly improves heart and lung health and cuts the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. And it’s never been easier to take part! Through the community initiative funded by Give It Your Max, the Tennis Foundation and Handeslbanken, better facilities – such as the new free courts coming soon to Cannon Hill Park – are making tennis more available to all across the city. Joining a club, such as Edgbaston Priory, adds the chance of enjoying relaxed social tennis sessions and taking part in tournaments and leagues.

4. EXERCISE THE GREY MATTER

Tennis keeps your mind agile because you need to stay focused on the ball and decide in a split second which shot to make. We’ve all heard the commentators say ‘It’s all in the mind’. Well that’s as true at an amateur level as it is in a Wimbledon final.

5. POSITIVE THINKING

Tennis players are said to be more optimistic, have greater self-esteem and are less anxious, angry and depressed than people who play other sports or lead inactive lifestyles. It’s also a great way to make long-lasting friendships.

The Aegon Classic is at Edgbaston Priory Club from 15 to 21 June, details at www.lta.org.uk For more information about playing tennis visit www.edgbastonpriory.com