Talking to a work colleague the other day and he mentioned that he had started to play tennis to lose weight. I explained that tennis was no good for weight loss – he said “yes but I get out of breath and sweat a lot”. To which I replied, “yes but you won’t lose any weight” and I explained why..
The best way to lose weight is to burn off more calories than your consume. With modern western lifestyles, this can be difficult. To burn fat as a fuel, you need to be exercising in the “zone” of around 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. The best way to do this is to walk briskly, run or cycle slowly or swim.
So why what’s this got to do with tennis?
In tennis, you spend time running quickly in short burst and (if your partner is good) sprinting and diving for points. This will rocket your heart rate over 80% meaning you are not burning fat.
The rest of the time will be spent resting between points, walking to retrieve the ball, changing ends. Your heart rate will drop below the magic figure and you are not burning fat at this end of the scale.
So that’s the reason why tennis is no good for weight loss – too little time spent in the fat burning zone.
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