AP SPORTS: Tennis Anyone?

By: Win Boyer

Here at Albemarle Plantation we are very fortunate to have two of the finest courts (with lights) in Perquimans County. Har-Tru is the surface’s brand name, one of the most forgiving surfaces on which to play this great game without creating pain in your joints. There’s even an underground irrigation system to keep the surface moist and playable during NC’s hot summer sun.

It’s likely that three groups of residents might read this article: 1) Those who now play and love the sport; 2) Folks who enjoy watching professional players like Federer and the Williams sisters on TV; and 3) Health-conscious retirees who are looking for a good way to exercise.

With spring arriving soon, consider retrieving your stowed-away racquet and joining one of the many groups that play year-round on our courts. To be sure, as we age, the intensity of play gradually evolves to a slower pace. In fact, players here just enjoy the sport at all ability levels, and with good reason, since tennis has been declared to be one of the very best forms of exercise available, offering both physical and mental health benefits.

New federal guidelines for physical activity are very broad, with every movement counting towards wellness. Adults are urged to do 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, along with muscle-strengthening sessions. However, it seems only 23% of Americans do so (TIME, December 10, 2018). This makes tennis, which burns 1,000 calories in just two hours of play, even more relevant.

Here are a few things to consider. Finding a friend or neighbor with similar tennis skills can be a very motivating factor in staying mobile and feeling young. The simple attire for tennis is shorts (no cut-off jeans please) and a sport or tennis shirt—if you look like a tennis player, your opponent might think you are one! A key requirement, however, is proper footwear. Please
invest in a pair of TENNIS shoes before you play. Other than sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cap or visor, as well as some “eye-hand” coordination, it’s time to play. Be aware, there’s even a ball machine that will let you practice fore-hand, backhand, and overhead shots, without having to find someone to keep hitting balls back to you.