How Many Calories Does Playing Tennis Burn?

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From my years of experience of being a tennis coach, I can tell you that there are very few sports that can compete with tennis when it comes to burning calories

In order to lose weight, I believe it is essential to choose an activity where you can create goals and have a huge amount of fun. If you do not do this the chances of giving up on your weight loss goals are very high.

People can burn a similar number of calories while running or going to the gym, but a lot of people see these activities as just a form of exercise. Tennis, on the contrary, is more competitive. It challenges you to become better every time you play it. The calories burned playing tennis paired with a healthy diet can do a world of wonders to your body.

For some reason, many people overlook the fitness level required to become a top tennis player. Unlike many sports, you are constantly on your toes and have to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Your level of fitness will have a huge impact on your level of performance.

The Science Behind Burning Calories Playing Tennis

Weight loss centers around creating what’s called a calorie deficit (eating fewer calories compared to how much you burn in a day). Because we’re seeking to create a healthy calorie deficit, this sport can help us achieve this due to the amount of exercise that goes into playing tennis competitively.

Tennis is an incredibly active sport because there are short bursts of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest. Because of how this works, the muscles in our body have to utilize oxygen more efficiently to burn more calories. The body, you could say, has to face a bigger challenge than it does with constant motion exercises.

The intensity of this activity speeds up your metabolism. Your body will still feel the benefits for about two hours even after you have stopped playing. This causes you to keep burning calories even when you aren’t doing much afterward.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Playing Tennis?

The calories burned whilst playing tennis will vary for every person. It depends on how much someone moves while making a shot and whether they are prepared to cover a lot of ground. It also depends on your weight. People who weigh more will burn more calories. This applies to exercise in general.

Another aspect of how many calories burned whilst playing tennis is whether you’re playing singles or doubles tennis. The number of calories burned also change if you are putting moderate effort into playing.

Calories Burned Playing Tennis (Single matches)

A person weighing around Calories burnt per hour of single
60kg 504kcal
70kg 588kcal
80kg 670kcal
90kg 756kcal
100kg 840kcal

Calories Burned Playing Tennis (Doubles)

A person weighing around Calories burnt per hour of doubles
60kg 378kcal
70kg 441kcal
80kg 504kcal
90kg 567kcal
100kg 630kcal

How the “number of calories burned every minute” is measured is based on this formula: (Your MET x 3.5 x your entire body weight in kg) / 200

Where MET is a measurement showing your metabolic rate when working, compared to your metabolic rate while resting. This can be determined using a calorie calculator. One MET equals around 3.5 ml of oxygen for each kilogram of the body per minute.

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What Other Benefits Come From Playing Tennis?

Aside from the obvious weight loss benefits, tennis is a highly rewarding game in other aspects as well. As previously referenced if we want to achieve our goals we can’t ignore the importance of choosing something we enjoy doing. The list of benefits here will be some of the reasons why you might decide to stick to playing tennis on regular occasions.

It Helps With Socialization

Unless you are using a ball throwing machine to play, this game encourages you to socialize better. You get to increase your social skills and even make new friends.

It’s Good For The Brain

Not only do you get a lot of calories burned playing tennis, but you also get a sharper brain! Tennis promotes mental alertness and helps with regulating serotonin. This leads to a better sleep cycle, improved appetite, and overall, good health.

It Helps Make You Flexible

With all the moving around trying to hit the ball as best you can, you are bound to become more flexible. With tennis, your body is constantly moving, stretching, and changing directions, and that promotes flexibility. There’s a reason why this is called a whole-body exercise.

The Tie-Breaker

Tennis comes with a lot of benefits, from giving you a toned body to a happy, healthy brain. Given its many benefits, it’s definitely worth it, for sure. If you want to burn some calories and have fun at the same time, tennis is the perfect exercise for you.

Brenton Barker
Brenton Barker
Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute. He has held Managerial and Head Coaching roles with Australia's National Governing Body, Tennis Australia, and served on the Dunlop International Sports Advisory Board for eight years. Brenton currently consults with several professional athletes and clients in the areas of Self-Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.