Tennis Makes You Happy and Healthy, Study Shows  

Erin Maher | May 01, 2019

May is National Physical Fitness month, and what better way to celebrate than spending time swinging, serving and practicing your strokes on the tennis court! After all, research shows that tennis players enjoy better general, physical, social and mental health. 


A 2018 study conducted by the USTA in conjunction with Dr. Alexis Colvin, Chief Medical Officer of the US Open, analyzed survey data from more than 10,000 USTA League players to reach that conclusion. The study, which was conducted online, investigated USTA League members’ general, physical, mental and social health using a validated standardized questionnaire. 


Out of those surveyed, 97.7 percent of participants in the study reported that playing tennis helps manage their health. And the numbers don’t lie. The average mean body mass index (BMI) of players surveyed was 24.8 kg/m2, which falls within the healthy weight range. 


Tennis may also foster healthy habits off the courts.  Of the respondents, only 1.4 percent of participants smoked cigarettes, which is one of the major risk factors for everything from cancer to lung disease to death according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.


The findings also showed that players who played more than three days a week, and who were rated 4.0 or higher, reported better health. 


“This is one of the largest studies to date on recreational tennis players and it certainly confirms the many positive health benefits of tennis,” says Dr. Colvin.


USTA League player, Rafael Garcia, is a testament to the health benefits of tennis. A former high school tennis player, Garcia let tennis and his health fall to the wayside, and found himself weighing in at 350 pounds in adulthood. 


12 years after he first picked up a racquet, Garcia, an El Paso, Texas resident, decided to partake in a local tennis event. Holding a racquet brought back the passion Garcia once felt for the game, and immediately he joined a USTA League mixed team and a men’s 4.0 team. 


"I think tennis has had a profound effect on me, both mentally and physically," said Garcia. "It has transformed me completely." 


Soon enough, Garcia found himself on multiple league teams and played monthly tournaments in singles, doubles and mixed events. All of Garcia’s time on court, paired with a fitness routine and healthy diet saw the tennis player, losing a total of 140 pounds. 


"The greatest change from losing weight and playing tennis came mentally.  Now I expect great things out of myself, because I believe I can. My mindset has changed completely from when I use to weigh 350 lbs. to now at 210lbs and the person I am today!", said Garcia. 



Looking to get in the game?


Here are three ways to get on the court today! 

  1. USTA League: With more than 320,000 tennis players taking part each year, USTA League is the country’s largest adult competitive tennis league.

    For more information on USTA League, click here

  2. Recreational Play: There are thousands of tennis programs around the country delivering tens of thousands of classes, league and more.

    To find a local recreational tennis program, click here.

  3. Adult Tennis Tournaments: There are an array of adult and senior tournaments offered through the USTA, whether it’s a local tournament where you can compete with area players or represent Team USA in a senior international competition.

    To sign up for an adult tennis tournament today, click here


Already playing USTA League?


Be sure to join our USTA League Facebook Group and download our Physical Fitness Month Facebook Frame during the month of May! 




Take a video of your serve and tweet it to us @USTA using #USTATwitterClinic no later than May 6th. Our head tennis pro from the USTA #NationalCampus, Coach Ben Zaiser, will hold a Twitter Tennis Clinic on May 8th to give you personalized feedback!

Click here to go to the USTA Twitter page. 



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