For both your physical and mental health
Putting an emphasis on self-care, in any form, has been a priority for most during the COVID-19 pandemic. But have you thought about fortifying your mental health lately? In May, Mental Health America encourages you to strengthen your mental well-being by celebrating Mental Health Awareness month.1 An easy and fun way to prioritize your mental health is by picking up a tennis racquet.
Now you may be thinking, how do tennis and mental health go hand in hand? Well, you’d be surprised to know that tennis is one of the leading sports that benefit your mental well-being.
“Since tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and this promotes a lifetime of continuing development of the brain,” according to scientists at the University of Illinois. In turn, advancing your brain function helps reduce stress which supports your mental health.
The mental and social challenges involved with tennis can increase your capacity to deal with stress.2 The best part is, there is no time limit on when you can take advantage of the psychological benefits the sport has to offer. Whether you are a brand new player or someone who used to play tennis and is ready a get back out on the court, tennis creates well-being at any stage.
Tennis helps strengthen your mental health by3:
- Developing a work ethic: Improvement through lessons or practice reinforces the value of hard work.
- Managing mistakes: Learning to play within your abilities and realizing that managing and minimizing mistakes in tennis or life is critical.
- Managing adversity: Playing tennis enables you to learn to adjust to the elements (e.g. weather, a hard match, tiredness) and still be able to compete tenaciously.
- Learning to solve problems: Since tennis is a sport based on angles, geometry, and physics you learn to anticipate certain scenarios in order to play out a point during a match.
- Accommodating stress effectively: The physical, mental, and emotional stress of tennis will force you to increase your capacity for dealing with stress. It will also help you learn how to recover from a stressful situation.
We can’t forget about the social benefits tennis has to offer. Tennis will help you4:
- Develop performance rituals before serving or returning to control your rhythm of play and deal with pressure. These skills can transfer to taking exams, conducting a meeting, or making an important sales presentation.
- Learn sportsmanship since tennis teaches you to compete fairly with opponents.
- Learn to win graciously and lose with honor. Gloating after a win or making excuses after a loss doesn’t work in tennis or in life.
- Learn teamwork since successful doubles play depends on you and your partner’s ability to communicate and play as a cohesive unit.
- Develop social skills through interaction and communication before a match, while changing sides of the court and after play.
And most important, when you play tennis you will have FUN… because healthy feelings of enjoyment, competitiveness, and physical challenge are inherent in the sport.
At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we believe tennis creates well-being. Playing tennis an hour a day may improve your physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Get out and play today so you can maximize those benefits on and off the court. During Mental Health Awareness Month, inspire yourself and others to make tennis a part of your mental health journey.
Let’s strengthen our mental health together. Meet us out on the tennis court this summer to take advantage of the lifelong benefits the sport has to offer.
And don’t forget to catch up on the endless physical health benefits tennis has to offer by reading our Improve Your Overall Health with Tennis article.
We can’t wait to see you out on the courts!
1Mental Health America, Celebrate Mental Health Month
2USTA.com, Tennis Makes You Happy and Healthy, Study Shows, 2019
3Health Benefits of Tennis: Why Play Tennis by Dr. Jack Groppel
434 Reasons to Play Tennis, Webinar Series with Dr. Jack Groppel