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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
In Cardio Tennis, it's not about winning the game, set or match - it's about raising your heart rate, breaking a sweat and having a good time.
"It's high energy tennis with music," said Dave Phillips, director of tennis at KTC Quail Tennis Club. "Lots of energy and lots of fun."
Cardio Tennis is a crossover fitness and tennis program established by the Tennis Industry Association, in conjunction with the U.S. Tennis Association, in 2005. Since its inception, the program has expanded to more than 30 countries and nearly 2,000 tennis facilities in the United States. And, according to the Physical Activity Council's 2013 U.S. Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation report, more than 1.4 million people participated in Cardio Tennis in 2012, up nearly 60 percent since program participation was first measured in 2008.
The program has also been adopted by the Japan Tennis Association, the Lawn Tennis Association, Tennis Australia and Tennis Canada.
Locally, Five Seasons Sports Club, Quail Run Racquet Club and Schroeder Tennis Center are among facilities that offer Cardio Tennis classes.
Music booming and balls flying - Cardio Tennis classes are designed to help participants reach their target heart-rate zone in order to burn the most calories and get the best workout possible in the hour-long session. And the calorie burning can be significant as, according to the Tennis Industry Association, men can burn between 500-700 calories in a single class, while women will likely burn between 300-500 calories. It is as much - or possibly more
- about getting a cardiovascular workout as it is about playing tennis.
Five Seasons Sports Club adult director Al Pico starts his Cardio Tennis sessions with a dynamic warm-up. The class might also include ladder work, side hurdles, fast-speed ball-hitting and a variety of half-court drills. Familiar tunes from the '80s might set the pace or, sometimes, upbeat Latin rhythms set the tone.
"An hour goes by pretty fast," Pico said.
Stephanie Davis can attest to the fun atmosphere of Cardio Tennis as the Centerville resident has been taking classes at Quail for years.
"It goes so fast and it's so fun that you forget you're exercising," Davis said.
Davis has spent long hours in the gym and has tried several other fitness classes in recent years.
"But I've never done anything for this long," she said of her three years in Cardio Tennis. "You definitely don't get bored."
Phillips agrees with Davis' assessment.
"When I'm on a treadmill, I feel like a gerbil and I can't wait to get finished," he said. "It's not like that in Cardio Tennis."
If you have never picked up a racket, Cardio Tennis would not be a good fit. But if you can keep a rally going and have some basic tennis skills, it might be worth a try.
"It's good for all levels of players," Pico said. "But there is minimal instruction and it is fast-paced so it can be quite challenging."
Participants at Quail range in age from a home-schooled high school student to several players in their 60s.
"The pros really try to stay in tune with everybody and might give them an easier feed if they need it," said Darrin Heinz, manager of KTC Quail Tennis Center.
Getting a good heart-pumping cardio workout is only one of the benefits of this tennis-based class. Participants will also likely see improved footwork and hand-eye coordination as well as increased stamina over time.
Other benefits of regular cardio workouts include a lower resting heart rate, weight loss and reduced stress.
"And it's also great from a social perspective," Pico said. "People really look forward to seeing their friends in class."
That social aspect has an added benefit.
"The accountability factor is enormous," Phillips said. "People show up because their friends are there. They receive encouragement from each other and the coaches."
Some Five Seasons classes are open to nonmembers as well as members, while Schroeder Tennis Center Cardio classes are only open to club members.
While typically only available to members, Quail is making its Cardio Tennis classes available to non-members through March.
You should call ahead to secure a spot as classes maintain a low student/ instructor ratio. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your spot, call Quail Run at 937-434-4082 and Five Seasons at 937-848-9200.
Contact this contributing writer at [email protected]