More than 1.54 million Americans took to the tennis courts last year to participate in the popular and growing Cardio Tennis program, according to the Physical Activity Council (PAC) 2014 Participation Report.
Launched in 2005 by the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) in conjunction with the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), the focus of Cardio Tennis is on health, fitness, and cardiovascular exercise. As a result of the fitness-based element and social atmosphere, the program has grown its participation base in the U.S. by 85% since 2008. It also is now being delivered in more than 30 countries, including as a key participation growth effort in three of the four "Grand Slam" tennis nations.
“Cardio Tennis was created to address the growing fitness trend, and it truly appeals to a broad spectrum of consumers,” says Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the TIA, which manages the program. “It brings both avid tennis players to the court as well as non-tennis players who are looking to simply get a great workout.”
With an ever-increasing obesity epidemic in the U.S., along with 80 million "inactive" Americans, Cardio Tennis is a natural fit to help people become more active, get healthy, and enjoy the sport of tennis in a fun and exciting format.
While Cardio Tennis focuses on fitness, it also helps to improve tennis skills. There is constant motion—players hit a lot of tennis balls in both fast-moving, fun drills and in games-based play against others. One of the newest and most popular Cardio Tennis games is “Triples,” which has three against three (one player at the net, two at the baseline). Participants are encouraged to use heart-rate monitors to work out and play safely in their optimum heart-rate zones.
“The growth of Cardio Tennis in its first nine years has been phenomenal,” says Michele Krause, the TIA’s Cardio Tennis manager. “Consumer interest in fun, group, social fitness is at an all-time high and Cardio Tennis hits all the right notes. It’s a great crossover activity that not only allows you to get an amazing workout, but to also get into tennis, and to improve your tennis. And it’s great for all ages and ability levels.”
Helping to further bridge the gap between the tennis and fitness arenas, the TIA launched TRX Cardio Tennis, a program combining the aspects of Cardio Tennis with the popular suspension training afforded by using TRX bands.
"Cardio Tennis and TRX Cardio Tennis aren't just about tennis," says Krause. “They are true fitness activities that help people improve their cardiovascular and muscular strength. Cardio Tennis is one of the few tennis programs in the world to be accredited by major health and fitness organizations like the National Academy of Sports Medicine.”
“Tennis and fitness have universal appeal," says de Boer. "We've seen such a great response to Cardio Tennis on a global scale—including governing bodies such as the LTA in the UK and Tennis Australia, which both adopted the program as a way to increase participation in their countries."