Cardio Tennis Participation Surges In Latest National Physical Activity Council Survey
Ranked No. 1 in growth in a study of 118 sports, this tennis-based group fitness activity is helping millions of Americans achieve their health and wellness goals.
More and more Americans are choosing Cardio Tennis, a high-energy group fitness workout that combines the best features of tennis with cardiovascular exercise, as their means to get healthy and fit. In the latest national survey of 118 sports and activities, Cardio Tennis was ranked No. 1 in year-over-year growth in terms of participation.
The annual sports participation study, conducted by the Physical Activity Council (PAC), showed that Cardio Tennis participation in the U.S. jumped 16.7 percent from 2015 to 2016, to more than 2.12 million participants. Cardio Tennis has seen a 156 percent increase since first being measured by the PAC study in 2008.
Developed by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) and Tennis Industry Association (TIA) in 2005, Cardio Tennis delivers a full-body, calorie-burning workout. “We are very pleased with how Cardio Tennis has been growing, both in the U.S. and globally,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “Cardio Tennis plays to Americans’ health and fitness preferences, and also helps tennis coaches and facilities grow their player base.”
“Cardio Tennis is a very social group fitness class that uses tennis to provide aerobic and anaerobic workouts,” says Cardio Tennis Global Education Director Michele Krause. “More than 3,000 tennis professionals are delivering Cardio Tennis in the U.S.”
The activity on the court uses tennis balls with slightly lower pressure than regular yellow tennis balls. “These balls level the playing field for all participants and allow players to hit many more shots than they would with yellow tennis balls,” says Krause. “When you combine all these ‘touches’ on the ball with the movement of getting to the ball and recovering, you have a workout in which it’s possible to burn 500 to 1,000 calories safely in an hour on court—all while improving your tennis skills and having a lot of fun.”
A key to Cardio Tennis is for players to use a heart-rate monitor to ensure they’re within the proper “zone” for improved fitness and performance. “Cardio Tennis instructors are trained in making sure participants are warming up, playing, and cooling down properly to achieve their best results safely,” says Chris Ojakian, executive director of racquet sports for Elite Racquet Sports of Los Angeles and a longtime global trainer for Cardio Tennis. “It’s gratifying when players tell me they’re achieving their fitness and weight-loss goals because of the workout they get playing Cardio Tennis.”
The “group” aspect of a Cardio Tennis session also is important. “With six to eight players on a court in a Cardio Tennis workout, there’s a real team camaraderie to the session,” says Heather Silvia Killingsworth, president of the Silvia Tennis Academy in the Atlanta area and a Cardio Tennis global trainer. “What’s great is that players will not only do Cardio Tennis with their friends and teammates, but participants also meet new people, too, who all share a common goal to get healthier and fitter.”
Managed by the TIA, Cardio Tennis also is spreading around the world, with formal partnerships with tennis associations in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy and most recently, India.
“We think we’ll continue to see Cardio Tennis participation increase, as more and more Americans becoming concerned about the ‘inactivity pandemic’ and the rise in obesity rates in the U.S.,” de Boer says. “Tennis is one of the healthiest activities. In fact, this industry recently created a Tennis Health & Wellness Task Force to help promote the health, fitness, wellness and life benefits of the sport.”
Tennis has historically been called ‘the sport for a lifetime,’” and according to world-renowned scientists from a variety of disciplines, there’s no doubt that tennis is one of the best sports to play—at any age.
In fact, an Oxford University study released last fall that followed more than 80,000 people for an average of nine years determined that of all sports surveyed—including swimming, aerobics and biking—those who played racquet sports such as tennis were least likely to die over the study period. The study showed that participation in a racquet sport such as tennis decreases early mortality risk due to heart disease by 56 percent.
According to the PAC study, 48 percent of all tennis players in 2016 described their fitness level as good, compared to 25.4 percent of the U.S. population overall. The 2017 Physical Activity Council Participation Report surveyed 118 sports and activities. The annual report is produced by a partnership of eight of the major governing bodies and trade associations in the U.S. sports and leisure industry.