With nationwide participation in tennis continuing to rise and officially at its highest point in 25 years, winter provides a challenge to many who frequent the courts in the spring, summer and fall.
But even with wind chills, snow and hanging out by the fireplace, the winter months provide plenty of room to squeeze some outdoor tennis in there — as long as you’re safe about it.
As it turns out, winter is not only a good time to hit the gym and work on your overall fitness, but it’s also a chance to get even more comfortable with your racquet. Working out in the cold is also said to burn even more calories than in comfortable or warm conditions, because the body is forced to work harder to keep a stable, warm temperature throughout.
“Growing up in Wisconsin, we definitely had our fair share of cold winters, but I would always find a way to keep a racquet in my hands,” said Seth Pamperin, Middle States’ Junior Competition Coordinator. “You can find a wall to hit against or just tap the ball back and forth on your couch. And when you get a nice day, you have to take advantage of it and get outside.”
With working out in the cold, of course, comes some risk, which is a reminder to always keep in mind overall health. Certain conditions like asthma, heart problems and others alike can have even more of an impact in certain temperatures, so it’s always important to check with a doctor or other health professional before making any big changes.
The cold can also impact another type of health — that of your racquet. Being exposed non-stop to cold temperatures can quicken the wearing of grips and bring about a change in string tension and even frame stability. The effect of keeping a racquet in your trunk or unheated garage all winter, for example, could mean replacing it just weeks into the spring or summer. So, instead, look for a nice spot inside to store your gear.
A few tips for those who are playing outside:
-Bring pocket warmers or gloves
-Wear a long-sleeve shirt with removable layers on top, and tights/sweatpants
-Hats and ear warmers can make a bigger difference than you realize
-On the coldest of days, find a local gymnasium and hit off the wall