TWO TIME Grand Slam champion and former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka recently announced her pregnancy on Twitter and at just 26 Vika has plans to be back after her new baby is born. When tweeting the news she added:
“I have been truly inspired by so many strong female athletes who return to the very top of their sport after having children, and I plan to do exactly that.”
Kim Clijsters famously returned to the professional circuit after becoming a mother, in an interview with Vogue she explains the challenges she faced when first trying to get back into shape
“It took me a while to lose the baby weight. The first few months after Jada was born, my Dad was really sick and my sister and I were taking care of him, so I didn’t really have any time to focus on trying to get in shape. I started hitting a few balls here and there about six months after Jada was born. I was breastfeeding at the time, so that made it a little more complicated—at one point I was wearing two sports bras just so I could jump and serve! But I was generally uncomfortable, and decided it was a bit too soon to get right back into it.”
But Kim eventually got back into her routine and was inspired on her way to winning the title at the 2009 U.S. Open – the victory made all the sweeter by sharing the moment on court with her 18 month old daughter Jada.
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While Clijsters’ story is definitely good motivation, it’s important to realise that you don’t need to be professional athlete to enjoy the benefits of tennis when it comes to regaining your fitness. Here’s the top 5 reasons why tennis is the perfect sport to help you bounce back into shape after pregnancy:
Tennis is a low impact sport
One of the best things about tennis is that it can be played at nearly any age and at any skill level. It’s low-impact and players do not need to rely on strength alone to be successful. So it’s the perfect way to ease yourself back into exercise again.
Tennis is an all around workout
Tennis is a sport that requires the whole body to work together in different ways to achieve the best results. Core/leg strength, footwork, coordination, flexibility and balance will all develop the more tennis you play. A woman can expect to burn around 420 calories in one hour of singles play.
Tennis builds confidence
Tennis is a sport that requires decision making, tactical planning and creativity. Enhancing these skills while playing tennis strengthens neural connections in the brain and increases self-esteem. Overcoming the challenges you face on court will make you a more confident person in your daily life.
Tennis is a social sport
Tennis is a great way to make friends and meet new people. Most clubs run a variety of different social activities to suit players of all abilities. What’s more, being social helps combat the onset of postpartum depression along with dopamine which is released during exercise.
Tennis is a great sport to play with your children and it helps their development
Tennis is one of the few sports that the whole family can enjoy together. If you’re looking to introduce your child to a sport once they get a little older, tennis is a great option for multiple reasons. It’s equally mental as it is physical and promotes both strong psychological and physiological development. Tennis is also a great sport for teaching children sportsmanship, honesty and integrity – it’s one of the few sports where your opponent can also be the referee. As an individual sport it also teaches children to rely on themselves to overcome obstacles as well as teaching them important life lessons. In doubles, children learn to work together and understand what it means to play as a team.
So when the time is right for you why not pick up a racket and give tennis a try…