Pop-A-Lock - July 2019

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JULY 2019 Keep the Ball Rolling The Benefits of Tennis in My Life F rom July 1–14, some of the best tennis players in the world will compete at Wimbledon 2019 in London. If you’re a tennis player like me, or even just a fan, you know Wimbledon is one of the most famous tennis tournaments in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the U.S. Open, another major tennis championship, but going to Wimbledon is definitely on my bucket list. I’ve played tennis for around 40 years now. I’m in a number of tennis groups and clubs, and a friend from one of those groups sent me an article recently on the health benefits of playing tennis. According to data analyzed from 80,000 people, racket sports are by far the most beneficial exercise when it comes to lowering the risk of an early death. People who play racket sports had a 47% lower risk of an early death, compared to 28% who swim, 27% who practice aerobics, and 15% who cycle.

“You don’t need to be good enough for Wimbledon to reap the benefits of playing tennis — or any sport, for that matter.”

7 or 8 in the morning and seeing these four men, who looked to be in their 40s, all playing tennis on a court in a local park. That might not seem odd now, but back in the 1960s, it was unusual to see men over the age of 40 actively exercising. It planted a seed in my mind that tennis might be a good sport to get involved in as I age. Interestingly enough, my brother who still lives in my hometown told me those men all lived into their 80s. You don’t need to be good enough for Wimbledon to reap the benefits of playing tennis — or any racket sport, for that matter. If tennis isn’t your thing, you could try pickleball, racquetball, badminton, or even table tennis. What really matters is you pick up a racket and play. -Doug Barnes

The article goes on to list some of the reasons racket sports might be more beneficial than other forms of exercise. One idea is that it utilizes the whole body and gives participants the opportunity to improve their agility, balance, and endurance among other things. It’s also more social and has more opportunities for healthy competition than other more independent and repetitive activities. Tennis is also a type of high-intensity interval training, and it counteracts age-related muscle loss, both important benefits for people over 65. I think there’s a lot of truth to the findings in that study. I’m 73 years old, and many people I play tennis with are 80 or older, and we still play a pretty competitive game! Even long before this study, back when I was a student in high school, I could see how tennis kept people interested and in shape. I remember driving to school at around

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