To explore the health benefits of tennis participation in veteran players and to identify future research needs, an electronic literature search using the Ovid (Cinhal, Medline, Sport Discus) library databases from 1966–2005 was undertaken. Specific search words were employed related to tennis, aging, exercise, health, and the psychophysiological systems. Public access internet search engines were also used (Google, PubMed), along with non-electronic searches of library holdings. There is ample research documenting the health benefits of regular participation in moderately intense aerobic activity. There have been research studies targeting veteran tennis players but most were cross sectional. No tennis related study successfully eliminated all confounding cross training effects. The health of veteran tennis players is improved by enhanced aerobic capacity, greater bone densities in specific regions, lower body fat, greater strength, and maintained reaction time performance in comparison with age matched but less active controls. However, it is not certain whether tennis alone can be a sole contributor to these physiological variables. Well controlled longitudinal research among elite veteran and novice older adult players is needed.
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Competing interests: none declared
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