Did you know that playing a moderate to an intense hour of tennis, just three times a week can reduce the average person’s chance of death by cardiovascular disease by half? Tennis is without a doubt, one of the best physical and mental workouts that you could choose. An hour of tennis burns as many as 300 to 420 calories for the average woman and 420 to 600 calories for the average man, depending on BMI and whether you are playing singles or doubles. Combined with brisk walking or cycling, this workout regime easily burns more calories, improves your metabolism, and is a better aerobic and muscular workout than light weight-lifting, bowling, and golf. It's literally the perfect way to get a flat stomach like Maria Sharapova!

Beyond merely burning calories, tennis is also great for your mind, but it is the benefits to the body that are the most impressive. Playing tennis can improve heart health and lower your resting heart rate as well as blood pressure. Physically speaking, tennis also improves bone and muscle density, tones your muscles, and makes you more flexible-- thus lowering osteoporosis and arthritis risk. It helps you develop gross motor control as well as fine motor control, because of the variety of shots that have to be played. It builds agility, polishes your reflexes, and dynamic balance thanks to the routine starts, stops, and unpredictable movement.

Beyond your body, tennis has a multitude of other benefits. Tennis is not a game you can play alone in your room. Tennis needs interaction and is a great game for socialising. It allows you to get to know more people who are committed to a healthy lifestyle practice, while also letting you hang out with any friends who may be interested in playing with you. Wondering where to go? Take your pick from our definitive listing of places to play tennis.

Tennis is a fabulous stress buster - what could be better than smashing a ball! As it is also a non-impact sport, you don’t have to worry about too much stress on your joints.

Tennis builds discipline and perseverance through constant practice, and when playing doubles it teaches you team work as you must rely on your partner. It teaches you to plan and implement strategies in your game, a skill that you can use in your day-to-day life as well.

Tennis hones a sportsman’s spirit and encourages healthy competition. You learn to play a fair game, and deal with loss, and well as victory in a dignified manner. It really is a gentleman’s (and woman’s!) game.

Tennis also inculcates a sense of responsibility - towards your own body, as well as that of your opponent and team-mates. Just as it is important to ensure the safety of other people on the court, it is important to ensure one’s own safety and minimise the chances of injury by warming up adequately, focusing on the game, and keeping a check on all apparel and equipment for signs of wear and tear.

Many claim that tennis is the ultimate fitness workout with good reason, and the best part is that you can start playing at absolutely any age. So what’s your excuse for not picking up that racket today? Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

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