8 Reasons racket sports serve winning health benefits

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8 Reasons racket sports serve winning health benefits

If you’re looking for a sport that brings together competitiveness with camaraderie, athleticism with fun, and recaptures the playfulness of youth, a racket sport is for you.  Picking up a racket may be the key to living longer, living healthier, and living with gusto.

A 2016 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine agrees with this.  This study examined the link between six different type of exercise and the risk of early death.  The six sports that were looked at were racket sports (tennis, badminton, racquetball, squash, Ping-pong, and pickleball), swimming, aerobics, cycling, running, and soccer.  This large study included 80,306 people ranging in age from 30-98.  Over the course of the study’s nine years, those who regularly played racket sports, were 47% less likely to die of any cause and 56% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

What makes racket sports such a health winner?

Why would playing a racket sport be so good for our health?  Here are the various reasons the researchers surmised about why swinging a racket delivers a perfect serving of health benefits:

1.      They offer lateral movement.  Most sports or exercises are performed moving forward only such as walking, running or riding a bicycle.  Racket sports force you to move back and forth and side to side.  This helps improve balance and weight shifting, which can lower the risk of falls.

2.     They significantly enhance hand and eye coordination and reaction time.  If you want to play well, you have to keep your eye on the ball and move your body into position to return a shot.  Aging can result in a loss of motor coordination and dexterity – racket sports help to reduce that decline.

3.     The major muscle groups in both the upper and lower body are given a great workout.  This improves and increases overall strength, trunk rotation, and joint flexibility.  Keeping your body strong and flexible comes in handy in daily activities such as getting out of a car, chair, or bed.  It also helps improve the ability to lift heavy objects, climb stairs, and walk longer and farther with less fatigue.

4.     Your mind will get a workout too.  Racket sports make you think about your next move.  This helps sharpens your planning and decision-making skills as you have to constantly anticipate and execute your next shot.

5.     No need to be concerned with the effects of playing a racket sport on your joints.  Lack of mobility is often why people develop knee and hip pain and stiffness.  Racket sports keep your joints loose, flexible, and strong. 

6.     They can involve the whole family. Racket sports can be played at any age, any fitness level and they do not involve having to purchase a lot of equipment.  You can spend as little or as much as you want on these sports. 

7.     Your social life will be enhanced.  Racket sports involve playing with at least one other person or playing as part of a doubles team.  Sports such as swimming, running, and cycling are often more isolated forms of physical activity.

8.     Perfect team sport. Playing with others on a team, such as a racket sport, involving frequent social contact is essential for living a long life.  A 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that loneliness was associated with functional decline and an increased risk of death among adults older than age 60. 

Overall, playing racket sports has much to offer in the way of keeping you healthy.  It gets you out of the house being more active and engaged with others, and when the focus is on the fun of the game, it can be one of the most entertaining and enjoyable activities around.