In previous articles on the Careline blog, we’ve discussed various activities that can help you or your loved ones stay active as you get older. Today’s blog post will focus specifically on one of the UK’s favourite summer sports: tennis. You might think that tennis is a younger person’s game, but don’t be fooled! More and more people are continuing to play tennis well into their 60s. Some people are even picking up a racket for the first time in later life. Read on to learn the benefits of tennis for older people, as well as some important safety tips for older players.
The History of Tennis – Did You Know?
Tennis originally dates back to the 12th Century in northern France, although it bears little resemblance to the game we know today. Before the invention of the racket, players used to bat with their hands! Lawn tennis as we know it originated in mid-1800s Britain. However, the name ‘tennis’ comes from the French ‘tenez’, meaning ‘receive’ or ‘take’.
The Benefits of Tennis for Older Players
The benefits of tennis for the elderly are plentiful. Tennis improves the player’s upper body strength and reduces the percentage of body fat. Low body fat can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attacks. Vigorous physical exercise also promotes healthy lungs and heart. As you exercise regularly, the volume of the heart increases, meaning more blood can be pushed around the body. These positive impacts all work hand-in-hand to make the body more healthy overall. Another of the benefits of tennis (or any exercise that improves agility) is that it can aid with the prevention of slips and falls.
Seasoned and novice tennis players alike should go at their own pace as they get older. Don’t push yourself too hard – after all, one of the benefits of tennis should be great fun! If someone is overexerting themselves, they are far more likely to pick up an injury.
Tennis can improve more than just your physical health. It also offers some positive mental health changes. Studies have shown that the mental benefits of tennis include preventing memory loss. Furthermore, some studies even suggest that playing a vigorous game regularly can help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s in the future.
While it is good to try and push yourself and build strength and skill, this should not come at the expense of your health. Older players in particular should be aware of their limits and take extra care. Allow yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down thoroughly. This will prevent injuries, increase athletic ability and aid with recovery from exercise. It might be a good idea for older players to use a fitness tracker to monitor their heart rate as they play. If you are playing with an older person, make sure to take adequate breaks and allow them to rest if they feel out of breath, dizzy, or fatigued.
You should also make sure that everybody stays hydrated and no one is overheating, especially if you are playing outside in the sunshine. This is particularly important for elderly players for whom dehydration poses a greater risk.
Make sure your loved one is paying attention to their body and, more importantly, resting when they need to rest. Remember that, as we age, injuries often take far longer to heal. This is why you should be ensuring everyone is playing safely and according to their own ability.
Playing tennis with friends and family is a great fitness solution for older people. However, it might be a challenge for relatives to find time and resources to make this happen. This shouldn’t mean that the elderly can’t enjoy trying new things. There are local tennis groups throughout the country, many of which offer transport support as well as a great social opportunity to play with people of all ages.
Don’t imagine that you’ll be the only older player on the court either. The video below is Mansour Bahrami, professional tennis player, explaining the impact tennis has had on his life. He is a fantastic example of the positive benefits of playing tennis can have and how to have fun doing it.
Supporting You At Home
The benefits of tennis are numerous, and frequent players can enjoy boosts to both physical and mental health. However, as we get older, it’s only natural to be concerned about our health and independence, no matter how active we are. That’s where a Careline alarm can help.
Our pendant alarm systems offer you 24/7 protection from our expert Care Team. If you ever need assistance – after a fall, for example – just press your Careline pendant button and we will respond within seconds. We can call your nominated Emergency Contacts, as well as the emergency services if necessary, and have help on the way to you immediately.
A Careline pendant alarm is a reliable, affordable source of peace of mind, both for the alarm user and their loved ones. To find out more, give us a call on 0800 101 3333 or fill in our Contact Us form online.