Is Playing Tennis Good For Weight Loss?

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When trying to lose weight, most people start running or going to the gym. Find out if something like playing tennis is good for weight loss too.

If you want to lose weight, you need to get to a point where your body needs more energy than is coming in from food.

Sports like tennis help in this process because the intense movements involved burn more calories than typical daily activities.

In simpler words, playing tennis can be good for weight loss. It is even relatively effective for burning calories compared to many (but not all) exercise options.

Additionally, one of the more unique benefits of tennis is that many people find it fun to do. This can help you stay more consistent with your exercise routine.

At the same time, you need to keep in mind that your habits in other lifestyle areas like your diet still need to be good enough. It is possible to gain weight when playing tennis too.

On top of that, some people may not like the extra transport time required to get to a tennis court.

Can tennis help you lose weight?

While there are a few conditions, it is worth quickly mentioning that tennis can help you lose weight. That being said, you still need to keep a few principles in mind.

To lose weight, you need to make it so your body requires more energy to function than you get from the food you consume. In a situation like that, you start using up energy stores like body fat.

Tennis and other sports can make this happen because the intense movements during them requires more energy from your body.

This can help with getting to the point above and making the difference bigger.

At the same time, these things also mean that your habits in other areas like your nutrition still need to be good enough to lose weight with tennis.

You could play for hours without fat loss results if your habits are suboptimal.

Man with muscled arms playing tennis

Calories burned in tennis vs other exercises

It is nice to know that playing tennis can benefit your weight loss results but you likely also want to know how it compares to other workouts.

You only have a limited amount of time to exercise more so you will have to make choices.

Looking at how many calories (energy) tennis and other activities burn can help with this.

Before going into these numbers, you do want to keep in mind that while they can be helpful for the comparison, the amounts of calories burned are rough predictions.

In reality, how many calories you burn with tennis and other exercises can vary due to differences in muscle mass, hormone levels, intensity of the tennis match, playing singles vs doubles, etc.

A 155-pound (70 kg) person will burn more or less the following amounts of calories while doing the activities below for 30 minutes (1):

  • Tennis (general): 252 calories
  • Water Aerobics: 149 calories
  • Stretching (Hatha Yoga): 186 calories
  • Rowing, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Bicycling, Stationary (moderate): 260 calories
  • Elliptical Trainer (general): 335 calories
  • Running 5.2 mph: 335 calories
  • Jumping rope: 372 calories
  • Swimming (breaststroke): 372 calories

These calorie burning esitmations imply that tennis can be a good exercise choice to burn calories (and hopefully weight loss) but that there are more effective options too.

Does tennis help you lose belly fat?

There is a common belief that you have to do certain workouts or eat certain foods to lose belly fat and burn fat from other specific areas like the arms or thighs.

Unfortunately, tennis or other workouts will generally not help you target fat loss in significant amounts.

To lose belly fat, you have to lose enough weight overall. As you progress in your weight loss journey, your body will use more and more fat from this and other areas.

So you can say that tennis can help you lose belly fat in combination with good habits in other lifestyle areas and over time.

That being said, you should not expect to get results in this specific area only.

Tennis court

How much weight can you lose playing tennis?

The calorie burning esimations give some vague indication but you may still wonder how much weight you can actually lose by playing tennis.

By now, it should be clear that this will also depend a lot on your habits in other lifestyle habits like your diet.

That being said, a 155-pound (70 kg) person can burn 252 calories while playing tennis for 30 minutes. This is more or less the number of calories in 0.07 pounds (0.03 kg) of body fat.

If this person does 10 sessions of this, they can burn an extra 2520 calories or the energy in 0.72 pounds (0.32 kg) of body fat.

In reality, you could lose even more weight while playing tennis if you implement other good lifestyl habits too.

How long you should play tennis to lose weight

The same weight loss principles from above still apply but there are more interesting to say about the durations of your tennis workouts.

First of all, you want to make sure you choose a duration that your body can deal with. Injuries can lead to many missed workouts.

That being said, the same 155-pound (70 kg) person from above would have to play 417 minutes to lose the number of calories in one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat.

Whether this calorie burning actually results in weight loss still depends on other factors.

How often you should play tennis to lose weight

There are a few things to mention when it comes to how often you should play tennis to lose weight.

First of all, it is worth mentioning again that your habits in other health areas need to be good enough. It is possible to play tennis every day of the week and not lose weight.

Secondly, you need to figure out how many tennis sessions a week your body can deal with without overtraining. For some people, this will be every day. For others, every three days.

Thirdly, you need to be able to combine your exercise habits with the rest of your busy schedule.

Lastly, cardiovascular workouts like tennis can be great for weight loss but if this is your goal, it is likely smart to implement some resistance training exercises to build muscle too.

Doing tennis on top of these workouts tends to be a bit too much.

Individual having fun playing tennis

Is tennis a good exercise for losing weight?

Tennis can be a good workout choice to burn a lot of calories and hopfully in turn, lose weight.

One of its unique benefits is that many people enjoy playing tennis. Enjoying the workouts you do can help with staying consistent with your exercise routine.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning that there are exercises that are more effective than tennis for weight loss too.

Additionally, you want to keep in mind that going to the tennis court and back requires extra time. This could make it harder to fit the exercise into your busy schedule.

So tennis can be a good cardiovascular exercise choice for losing weight but there are reasons to consider other options too.

No matter what cardiovascular workout you choose, it can be smart to build some extra muscle mass with resistance training too.

This extra mass will help you burn more calories with everything you do. That means your tennis workouts will also burn a few extra calories.

Lastly, make sure you keep on eye on other health areas like nutrition. Just playing tennis more often is no guarantee for weight loss results.

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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.