Tennis Health Risks: Starting Too Fast

Starting Slow Is The Key

Here at The Tennis Advocate, like other places, we want tennis to come back as soon as possible. We miss our favorite players, places, and just being able to watch the sport we love. Even with this in mind, though, we think there should be a very slow return for tennis players. With the time off of hard core, professional, tennis playing the chance of musculoskeletal and cardiovascular injuries has skyrocketed. 

If players are started back in tons of tournaments and matches like nothing happened, there can be major damage done to our favorite competitors. When tennis does start back, the players should think of themselves as starting from scratch. Even with all of their training at home, the players can’t recreate the extreme exhaustion they feel while playing their opponents. 

More Than Meets The Eye

During exercise, your musculoskeletal system takes most of the hits. Your muscle fibers pull against one another, which is often the ache you feel after working out or practice. Everytime your fiber tears, it repairs itself and grows back even stronger, making it much more dense. However, rest from a regularly done exercise is a different story.

Tennis is a sport that engages the majority of muscles in the body. Although it may seem like the upper body is used most when hitting the ball, it takes your core and lower body in combination with your upper body to actually do the job. To really understand the pain and fatigue tennis players would undergo if starting back up very quickly, we have to look at all the muscles that play a part.

Muscle Roles In Tennis

  • Lower body– calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes

These are some of the largest muscles in the body. They play a huge part in giving structure to the body while also helping you fluidly move around the court. 

  • In the core– abs, obliques, erector spinae, and latissimus dorsi 

The core muscles provide agility, balance, and the strength to hit powerful tennis strokes. It is known to be the most important muscle group in tennis as it aids in keeping you balanced as you move from one end of the court to the other.

  • Upper body– muscles of the chest, upper back, shoulders, and arms

The upper body muscles are engaged during swings, just before making contact with the ball. Other upper body muscles such as the rotator cuff, rhomboid, and trapezius make hitting serves and forehands possible. 

Patience Is A Virtue

When a long period of rest from hard core competition occurs (like the Covid-19 crisis occurring currently), the muscle fibers in all the essential tennis muscles above start to weaken. This means that when the matches and tournaments start up hard and fast again, more micro-tears occur in the muscle fibers. This shows how crucial it is to start tennis back up slowly and gradually build it up with rest weeks for our dearest players.

The cardiovascular system is affected greatly by constant exercise, and especially while playing tennis. After just 2-3 weeks of any exercise, the blood supply to your musculoskeletal system increases as your muscles require more oxygen. Tennis increases the amount of new blood vessels while also increasing the size of these vessels. Exercising excessively after a break can actually put your heart itself at risk. Early heart disease has been talked about in individuals who exercise well past the daily amount, and the percentage chance greatly increases with a long period of rest before it.

We believe that the athletes returning to all sports should follow a slower schedule including rest that best benefits them and their health during the return of all sports. Keeping our favorite players healthy and happy for as long as possible should be everyone’s top priority. Although everyone would love to see Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Serena, Simona, Naomi, and many others back in our favorite tournaments, we must wait patiently to keep every one of them safe and happy.

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