The aim of the study was to explore the role of tennis in the promotion of health and prevention of disease. The focus of this study was on risk factors and diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle, including low fitness levels, obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. A literature search was undertaken to retrieve potentially relevant articles for the purpose of this paper. Structured computer searches of PubMed, Embase, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) were undertaken, along with hand-searching of key journals and reference lists to locate relevant studies published up to March 2007. They had to be either cohort studies (of either a cross-sectional or longitudinal design), case-control studies or experimental studies. Twenty-four studies were identified that were related to physical fitness of tennis players, including seventeen on intensity of play and sixteen on maximum oxygen uptake of tennis players. Seventeen studies were found that investigated the relationship between tennis and (risk factors for) cardiovascular disease. Twenty-two studies were retrieved that examined the effect of tennis on bone health. It was concluded that people who choose to play tennis appear to have significant health benefits, including improved aerobic fitness, a lower body fat percentage, a more favourable lipid profile, a reduced risk for developing cardiovascular disease, and improved bone health.
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