Playing sports is a lifetime love for countless people. And if you’re a maturing athlete, you don’t have to give up your favorite games. Regular exercise at the gym or studio can keep you strong, fit and agile for just about anything.
Take Brooke Kline, for example, who has loved tennis most of his life and plays at least twice a week.
“Once I hit 50, I could tell changes in my body were starting to happen – and that made me more determined to make sure I stay active,” says Brooke, an educator in Atlanta.
So, Brooke altered his gym workouts to keep him sharp on the tennis court. He focuses on building his strength, mobility, and speed and says he’s now in the best shape ever.
Brooke is one of the millions of people around the world who play tennis regularly, at all ages. They even like to call it “The Sport of a Lifetime.”
Playing can add a decade to life expectancy, according to a large Danish study reported by the Mayo Clinic last year. That’s a greater gain than from cycling, swimming or running.
What’s So Great about Tennis
Tennis is also fun, social and usually played outdoors.
And just as staying fit will make you a better tennis player – playing tennis will make you more fit.
Tennis Canada lists these benefits:
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Better balance, coordination, and agility
- Increased brain power
- Weight control
- Bone strength
- Better stamina
Be Fit – Or Else
The US Tennis Association says the great news about tennis comes with a big qualifier.
“Here’s the bottom line for anybody who wants to play well into middle age, and beyond: be fit, or suffer the consequences,” the organization says.
Tennis lover and personal trainer Kevin White helps others keep in shape for the game.
He puts his clients through workouts that focus on footwork, side-to-side movements, lunges and other exercises that mimic the movements of tennis. That includes cardio interval training since tennis is a game of stops and starts.
“Warming up and stretching are also important, especially as we get older,” Kevin says.
Tennis requires stamina, power in the legs, butt, and arms, as well as flexibility and core strength – all of which you can develop and maintain in a fitness center.
Staying Fit to Enjoy Life
Brooke Kline, just 52, looks forward to playing in his 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond like many do.
“I know my gym work is helping my tennis,” he says. “My game is still improving, and I hit the ball harder than I ever have.”
Already, fitness means something different to him than it used to.
“It’s more meaningful now,” Brooke says. “I feel better. And I still feel like I’m 30 on the tennis court. Sometimes I forget how old I am.”