Athletics play a large role in American culture. We show up in astronomical numbers to marvel at the acrobatic skill of our professional athletes. When we think of the fittest athletes in sports, we think of the high-flying dunkers of the NBA, or an NFL wide receiver making an impossible catch in the end zone.
While most would consider football, basketball, or hockey players to be the fittest athletes in sports, Sports Illustrated and Men’s Fitness have recently released top 50 lists of the most in-shape athletes across all sports, and they aren’t the only ones on it. While many athletes come from the obvious contributors of basketball and football, there are also contributions from a multitude of other sports.
One of the less thought of sports as far as athleticism is concerned is tennis, however tennis has multiple athletes on both lists. Tennis requires an incredible amount of strength, speed, endurance, and agility, and professionals are some of the most athletic people in sports.
Additionally, playing tennis as a change-up to your normal fitness routine can really help increase personal health and wellness. Also, this can be a fun way to break the monotony of a normal workout routine.
Fittest Athletes in the World
When many think about athleticism they think solely of muscles, physical signs of strength. However, being a good athlete or really in shape means more than just how much you can lift. In top 50 rankings by both Sports Illustrated and Men’s Fitness, Lebron James, Calvin Johnson, and Usain Bolt all ranked near the top in both. However, taking into account strength, agility, speed, endurance, and more, tennis had contributors on both lists.
The lowest ranking tennis player on either list was Novak Djokavic at #43 on the Men’s Fitness list. Novak, who is coming off a Wimbledon title, practices up to three times a day, and is well thought of on tour for his dedication to training, and his stamina during matches. Roger Federer, who was defeated by Djokavic, came in at #31 on Sports Illustrated’s list. While Federer isn’t as fast as he used to be his strength, agility, and endurance still earn him a spot on that list.
One player from the sport was represented on both lists, and for good reason. Raphael Nadal earned top-20 spots, coming in at #20 on Sports Illustrated’s, and #14 on Men’s Fitness’. Nadal is well-known as one of the most athletic people in all of tennis. He possesses great quickness and agility, as well as blazing speed even after a few injuries have slowed his career. These tennis players are showing that athleticism isn’t just found in the NBA or NFL.
Tennis for Fitness
While many use going to the gym or other more traditional exercise routines to improve their wellness and stay in shape, working out by playing a sport can be more fun and just as effective for getting as healthy as you want to be. Playing tennis involves the use of many upper and lower body muscles, and also helps with endurance and agility. While it can prove difficult to motivate yourself into going to the gym, heading out to play some tennis can be a more enjoyable way to get your daily exercise.
However, if you’re going to use tennis as your workout routine, you won’t get as in shape as the pros by simply smacking the ball against a wall a few times. Using the correct court equipment and tennis gear so you can get the most out of your workout or practice is chiefly important.
For example, it can prove difficult to work on returning serves if you are by yourself. Using a Lobster tennis ball machine can help give you a great workout, and save you from gathering together wayward tennis balls every 10 minutes. In addition, it will help customize your workout or practice session, so you can work on specific parts of your game. For example, to work on endurance the machine can be set to shoot tennis balls to multiple locations. However, hitting the same couple of shots over and over again can make for an intense arm work out.
Finally, in addition to using the correct court equipment and tennis gear in your training, eating correctly also plays a huge role in health and wellness. Not only should you train like you play professionally, but you should treat your body the same way after training. Special diets and training regiments exist specifically for people that play tennis. By taking advantage of athletic nature of the sport and feeding your body the right things, overall health and wellness can be dramatically increased.