How Many Calories Does Tennis Burn?

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Tennis is a well-known exercise to get in some extra movement. It certainly offers a fun workout but how many calories does tennis burn?

Tennis is a popular type of recreation that certainly increases your movement intensity to levels considered to be exercise. Tennis allows you to get in a workout in a generally considered fun way.

While the exact number of calories burned with tennis varies from individual to individual, the average person can expect to burn around 103-178 calories per 15 minutes of tennis.

This article will also show you a more detailed chart that takes multiple factors into account, calories burned with singles vs doubles, and ways to increase the number of calories burned when playing tennis.

Biggest factors in calories burned with tennis

A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like tennis is hard to predict correctly. This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game.

Even so, good estimations can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.

Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn with tennis include:

  • Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy you need to fuel movement.
  • Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
  • Intensity: If you’re looking at calories burned per minute of tennis this can vary a lot by moving your body at a fast vs slow speed. The intensity of a tennis match can vary a lot.

Hidden calorie burning from tennis

There are many other aspects that make it even harder to put how many calories you burn with tennis into an exact number. This includes the fact that the calorie-burning effects of tennis are not limited to during the workout.

As mentioned, how much you weigh plays a relatively big role in how many calories you burn. This doesn’t just apply to your workout, this is also the case during everyday activities.

Chances are that by playing tennis you also build some muscle mass. Even though it won’t be as much as for example weight lifting, this extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out. It is however extremely hard to put this amount into a number.

Doing a workout at high intensity can also cause something called “afterburn”. This is basically having an increased metabolism for a while after you stop doing the exercise.

Estimations for calories burned with tennis usually don’t take into account these long-term effects.

Chart of tennis calorie-burning estimations

The centers for disease control and prevention simplifies the number of calories burned with tennis into either between 3.5-7 calories per minute or more than 7 calories per minute depending on playing tennis in singles vs doubles (1). In reality there are tools to make more precise estimations.

To calculate calories burned during certain exercises more specifically you can use a formula with MET values. A MET value is an exercise-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of workout is.

You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

Estimations for METs while playing tennis depend a lot on tennis intensity but vary from 6 at doubles tennis to 8 at singles tennis (2).

You can look at the number of calories burned with tennis from different perspectives. Below you can find charts about calories burned with general tennis per time interval and the difference in calories burned between singles vs doubles.

Again keep in mind that these are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain factors that do influence calories burned with tennis.

To put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).

Calories burned with tennis per time interval

One of the most convenient ways to see how many calories you burned while playing tennis is by looking at how much time you spent doing it.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds (56 kg)7 calories103 calories207 calories310 calories413 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)9 calories128 calories256 calories384 calories513 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)10 calories153 calories306 calories459 calories612 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)12 calories178 calories356 calories533 calories711 calories
Chart of calories burned with general tennis

Calories burned with tennis singles vs doubles

Next there is the chart for calories burned while playing different tennis categories. These numbers are when playing for 30 minutes.

Tennis Category
Weight Person
Tennis (Doubles)Tennis (Singles)
125 Pounds (56 kg)177 calories236 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)220 calories293 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)262 calories350 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)305 calories406 calories
Chart of calories burned per 30 minutes for different tennis categories

Ways to burn more calories with tennis

The number of calories burned with tennis is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per time interval.

The challenge for most people is fitting in workouts in their busy schedules. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time, which means burning more calories per minute of tennis.

If you do have more time, spending more time playing tennis will generally burn more calories although at some point overtraining may cause the reverse.

A more obvious way to burn more calories while playing tennis is by playing more intense matches. At some intensity point you also get the added afterburn effect.

The second way to burn more calories while playing tennis is by making the weight you have to carry around heavier. In theory, you could do this by wearing ankle weights or a light weighted vest.

A more realistic method is building some extra muscle mass with other exercises.

Woman playing tennis to burn calories

How long does it take to see results from tennis?

One pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000). How long it takes to see weight loss results from tennis will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.

One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intensely to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.

15 minutes of tennis a day could help you burn an extra 1280 calories in 10 days which is about 0.37 pounds of body fat. 30 days 3840 calories and so on…

Keep in mind that losing weight too fast can be suboptimal. In general, a 500 calorie deficit per day is considered to be a healthy weight loss rate.

Should you do tennis for calorie burning?

Tennis can be a good workout choice to burn a lot of calories. That being said there are also other workouts that can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

One benefit tennis does have is that many people consider it to be a fun way to get in some extra movement. Consistency is a big factor when trying to burn a lot of calories. The difference between two or three workouts every week makes a big difference in the long-term.

If calorie burning is your main goal and you do decide to implement more tennis, it may also be smart to implement some exercises in your schedule specifically for building muscle on top of your tennis workouts. The extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out, including during your tennis sessions.

Also keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what exercise routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.