With the spring weather upon us, we’re ready to get out on the courts and start playing tennis again. What are some good exercises to get back into tennis shape, before you actually hit the courts?
One of the worst things you can do when starting up an exercise program or coming back after a long time off is to do too much too soon. It is important to build into an exercise program and not just jump into things all out. It is very easy to put too much stress on the body when you suddenly change your training routine, especially when you are eager to do something you love – like playing tennis.
- A good suggestion when re-starting a program is to first get an evaluation by your physiotherapist, clearing you to engage in a training program. Then you should focus on building endurance and a base level of cardiovascular fitness. While you may start off by performing a low-level activity, like walking for 15 minutes several times per week, set a goal for eventually engaging in some type of aerobic activity every day. Increase the amount of time you spend doing this type of training about 5-10 percent each week. If you go for 30-minute walks three times a week, next week walk for 33 minutes each time, and 37 minutes the next week. Increase things gradually.
- Weight training should be approached in the same way. Focus on building muscular endurance throughout the body but also take special care to target areas that can assist with injury prevention (e.g. upper back, rotator cuff, core, and legs). This means using low levels of resistance while performing 15-25 repetitions of each exercise.
- You will also benefit by starting a regular stretching routine. Stretch every day if possible, focusing on the muscles of the legs, hips, chest and upper back.
- Finally, once you do step back on the court, take the same progressive approach. Do not go out and play every day for an hour. Start by playing one or two times per week and build up the amount you are playing a little bit each week.
Taking this approach when re-starting your exercise will help you get your body ready to play tennis while reducing the risk of injury.
Want to find out if your body is ready to get started safely? Call us at 604 – 263 4414.