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Tennis Anyone
October 1999 Article

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Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

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John Mills, USPTA

The following are some tips that I read which I hope will help you as a tennis player.

From "52 Ways to Live a Long and Healthy Life" by Laura Lewis

"Researchers have found that endurance athletes might benefit from adding extra Vitamin C to their diets. They found vitamin C Supplements along with vitamin E reduced tissue damage and sped up post-event recovery."

"If you don't exercise at all, after the age of twenty, you will begin to lose one-half pound of muscle per year. Losing one-half pound of muscle will drop your metabolic rate by 0.5 percent or fifty calories."

"Do things that make you laugh. Be around people who are "up" and share fun in life!"

"Eighty-six percent of American children cannot pass a minimal physical fitness test. Only 41.4 percent couldn't pass it in 1954."

"Stretching your muscles increases the length of your muscle fiber, increases the mobility and strength of your joints and spine, and increases blood flow and oxygen to your internal organs and tissue, which in turn increases your energy level. If you do not stay active and include a few simple stretches in your daily routine, you will be more stiff and probably complain "Oh, my aching back" a little more often than your mobile buddies."

"Healthy human beings were designed to move. As you get older and you limit your activity, your joints and muscles will respond accordingly and tighten up. If your movement is limited, your heart does not have to work as hard to pump oxygen-rich blood to your tissues. This results in a weaker heart muscle. Your lungs do not have to work as hard because you do not need as much oxygen to "run" your machine or body. As your lungs adapt to a lesser demand, their capacity to take in a maximum amount of air decreases and the effects of lessened movement are upon you -- you "feel old!"

Through tennis, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. I suggest that you do some reading on your own about the benefits of exercise and good eating habits. I am sure you will be able to find some easy ways to make minor changes to your life style that can result in huge benefits in your game.

About Strings and Grips

  1. Have your racket re-strung each year the average number of times you play each week. For example if you play three times a week, have your racket strung 3 times a year or every 4 months.

  2. Tension: The higher the tension the more control, the lower the tension the more power you will have.

  3. Gauge: (thickness of string) Strings usually come in 15, 16 and 17 gauges. The thicker string is 15 and the thinner 17. The thinner the string the better performance, the thicker the string the longer lasting. If you do not break strings very often, play with the thinner 17 gauge strings.

  4. If you typically do not break strings, you must be more adamant about replacing them. Sometimes they feel tight yet they become brittle and non-flexible. This can cause the dreaded "tennis elbow."

  5. Replace your grip twice a year minimally. Weather conditions will increase the number of times you will need to replace it. To help prolong the life of your grip, in hot weather use over-grips.

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    This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

    John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


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