I recently read an article online at Tennis Fixation about the calories burned by playing tennis. Have you ever wondered about how many calories you burn when you play?
I have tracked my tennis calorie burn for several years by wearing a heart rate monitor and so has my best friend and often tennis partner. Many believe tennis is not a big burn. By monitoring mine and hers I have found that it can be a huge calorie burn OR not.
Of course your gender, age, and weight all significantly affect the calorie burn. But these things usually don’t change much from match to match. So why can I sometimes burn 1,300 calories in a 2 hour doubles match and sometimes burn 600 calories in a 2 hour doubles match?
In my opinion the answer lies mostly in these 3 variables:
1) Temperature. My calorie burn is very much affected by the temperature I play in. If I’m playing in 70 degree temps I burn far fewer calories than if I am playing in 90 degree temps.
It cost the body significantly more energy (calories to cool itself--sweat-- rather than to keep warm)
2) For real VS for fun. For real matches are the ones that go up in light. (scores posted on the internet) These are USTA league matches and other leagues like ALTA or TCD.
When I am playing competitively, for real, my adrenalin dials me up and keeps my heart rate higher. The higher my heart rate the more calories I burn.
3) Evenly matched. The more evenly matched my opponent is to me the closer the score, the harder I must play to win.
The closer the score the more significant each point becomes. With this awareness it dials my heart rate up OR I mentally MUST dial it down, which in turns burns more calories.
I almost always track my calorie burn when I play tennis. I don’t write it down anymore I simply note it after the match to adjust my desire for dessert! If you wonder whether the averages you find online are a good quote you really must keep the above 3 variables in mind. If it’s not an extreme temperature, not for the money, or not too closely fought, those online estimates are right on. However, I have found that they are not even close given the right circumstances. For those days, you have to wear a monitor.