If you're looking for ways to stay more active, why not consider tennis? Playing tennis, whether it be through lessons or just playing a game or two with friends at a local court, may not be as popular a form of exercise as jogging or aerobics, but it's actually very good for your health. Here's a look at three ways playing tennis benefits your body.

Short spurts or activity are good for your heart.

Perhaps you have heard of HIIT workouts -- those hard workouts where you really push yourself for a minute or two, rest, and then push yourself again. HIIT workouts are great for your cardiovascular fitness, but the exercises involved are often pretty boring and repetitive. Tennis offer the same type of bursts of activity. One minute you're gently volleying the ball back across the court, and the next you're bounding across the court trying to keep your opponent from scoring. These intense intervals help get your heart rate up, improving your heart health by strengthening this important muscle.

Your flexibility will increase.

If you're like most people, you don't spend nearly enough time stretching when you're done working out. Sitting there and touching your toes or stretching your calves is basically boring, and rather ineffective. But when you play tennis, you stretch while you work out. When you have to reach across your body to hit a ball, you are stretching your shoulders. When you have to bend down to reach the ball, you're stretching your back and neck. You should end your tennis game or tennis lesson feeling loose and supple, which makes you less prone to muscle tears and other injuries when you're active throughout your daily life. 

You'll build your core.

While you could just swing at the ball using mostly the muscles in your arms, this is not the most effective way to play tennis. What you really should be doing is using your core to stabilize yourself and put more strength behind each hit, particularly using the muscles in your back and abdomen. After a few weeks of playing tennis, you may notice that your posture improves as a result of your increased core strength. If you're having trouble engaging your core while playing tennis, consider taking a few lessons. Your instructor can teach you to hold the racket and swing in a way that engages your core rather than only using your arms and shoulders. 

Contact a tennis facility in your area, such as Aspen Hill Club, for lesson schedules and availability, and get started toward better health!