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Health benefits of tennis
  1. Babette M Pluim1,
  2. J Bart Staal2,
  3. Bonita L Marks3,
  4. Stuart Miller4,
  5. Dave Miley4
  1. 1
    Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association (KNLTB), Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  2. 2
    Department of Epidemiology and Caphri Research Institute, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3
    Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  4. 4
    International Tennis Federation, London, UK
  1. Babette M Pluim, KNLTB, Displayweg 4, 3821 BT Amersfoort, The Netherlands; bpluim{at}


The aim of the study was to explore the role of tennis in the promotion of health and prevention of disease. The focus was on risk factors and diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle, including low fitness levels, obesity, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. A literature search was undertaken to retrieve relevant articles. Structured computer searches of PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL were undertaken, along with hand searching of key journals and reference lists to locate relevant studies published up to March 2007. These had to be cohort studies (of either cross sectional or longitudinal design), case–control studies, or experimental studies. Twenty four studies were identified that dealt with physical fitness of tennis players, including 17 on intensity of play and 16 on maximum oxygen uptake; 17 investigated the relation between tennis and (risk factors for) cardiovascular disease; and 22 examined the effect of tennis on bone health. 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, reduced risk for developing cardiovascular disease, and improved bone health.

  • health
  • prevention
  • risk factors
  • tennis

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  • Abbreviations:
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    bone mineral density
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