Sure you can bat a ball back and forth with a girlfriend on the tennis courts and shave off some calories, but you won’t burn a lot. With a little practice, you’ll be able to hit the ball hard, requiring you to chase after it upon its return. This intense type of tennis, when it seems like you’re just running back and forth, really gets your heart pumping and burns off tons of calories.
The exact number of calories you’ll use during your tennis match depends on your weight, as well as how hard you play. Typically the more you weigh and the more you get your heart pumping, the more you burn. At 125 pounds, you can use up as much as 420 calories an hour playing singles tennis. But if you weigh closer to 155 pounds, you’ll shave off up to 520 calories.
Playing doubles doesn't burn quite as many calories, only because you have a partner in crime to help you chase after the ball. You're not running the whole court all by yourself. Playing an intense doubles match for an hour uses up nearly 300 calories if you weigh 125 pounds, or about 370 calories at a weight of 155 pounds.
If you’re aiming for weight loss, you need to burn 500 calories per day -- 3,500 calories weekly -- to shed a pound a week, according to MayoClinic.com. You don’t actually have to burn all of those calories either; you can also trim some out of your diet. So if you had a long day at work and don’t have the time -- or energy -- to hit the courts for a full hour, aim for a half hour. This way you can burn off roughly 210 to 260 calories, depending on your weight. Then you’ll just have to cut the remaining 240 to 290 calories from your diet to reach the 500 calories-a-day mark.
Pre and Post Workout
Don’t discount your warm-up and cool-down sessions either; you’ll burn calories. Warming up before you grab the racket and then stretching out afterward, helps minimize your risk of injury, as well as soreness. If the tennis courts are close by, warming up and cooling down can be as simple as a brisk walk to and from. Walking at a pace of 4.5 mph -- a 13-minute mile -- burns 75 calories in 15 minutes if you weigh 125 pounds, or more than 90 calories in the same time frame at a weight of 155 pounds. Light stretching for 15 minutes uses up 60 calories at 125 pounds, or 75 calories at 155 pounds.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.