Put Down the Golf Club and Pick Up a Tennis Racket

As you get older it becomes more difficult to balance your vices, hobbies and workouts. Take a round of golf for example. For me, playing golf is a chance once a week to get some fresh air, relax and have a couple of beers and a cigar. The line between leisure and physical activity gets easily blurred when a buzz is involved.

Don’t get me wrong, 18 holes on a Sunday is ideal, but stop trying to convince yourself it’s your weekly workout as well. When it comes to staying active, there are more and more hurdles to overcome with age. Coordinating a pickup soccer game with busy schedules is nearly impossible. Knees and back pain after 30 minutes of pickup basketball are a reminder that you’re no longer 18. The camaraderie of a tight-knit baseball or football team is as elusive as finding four hours a week to spend on the golf course. These are luxuries all athletes once took for granted.

All that being said, I feel it’s important to find an activity that is enjoyable, competitive AND a proper workout. Tennis checks each one of these boxes and then some. You may be thinking to yourself, I’ve never held a racquet in my life. Don’t worry, it’s a sport that you can start at almost any age.

Even if your body has some wear and tear your competitive spirit most likely remains. Obviously for more advanced tennis players you’re competing with the person across the net, but for beginners it’s all about pushing yourself to master a new sport. Part of what makes golf so enjoyable is the incremental improvements you make through tweaked technique and form. Tennis is very much the same. Turn an unnatural-feeling stroke into a secret weapon. Transform sloppy footwork into a choreographed move. Setting small goals for yourself on the court is part of what keeps tennis interesting and engaging.

Besides the engaging nature of tennis’ skill sets, it’s also a perfect way to engage with people. If you’re just beginning you can join a beginner class where you’ll find like-minded people in the same boat. Once you can hold your own on the court there are leagues of varying skill levels in cities all over the country. Even if you’re a seasoned player who has just retired from your day job, you can stay in touch with your community by teaching tennis lessons. For aging men, there is no other sport as social as tennis. Oh, and I forgot to mention mixed doubles. Playing alongside a fit female tennis player doesn’t sound too bad does it?

Even if you’re not convinced you’ll take to tennis like a fish to water, you can take solace in knowing you’re going to get in a fantastic workout. Tennis is unique in how it works so many different aspects of your body. Even if you can run miles at a time the cardiovascular workout in tennis is completely different. Between the drills used in a lesson and the intense lateral movement of match play, you’re going to get your heart rate up. If you play twice a week for an hour each time you’ll burn well over 1,000 calories without putting strain on your body. Mile after mile riding a bike or running on the street may yield the same calorie burn, but not only is it going to cripple your knees and back, it’s downright boring. Not to mention tennis will absorb any stress present (even you’re doing terrible, have you ever smashed a racquet? So satisfying), boost your sex drive and define muscles you didn’t even know that you had.

So at least think twice next time you’re thinking about dropping $300 on the newest Titleist driver. I guarantee you’ll find your time, money and effort better spent on the tennis court.

John Hayes

View posts by John Hayes
John Hayes is a blogger and entrepreneur who helped launched MyTennisLessons.com in Austin TX. His mission is to help people stay active by making tennis a more accessible and affordable option for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
Scroll to top