Lowering high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy body weight, lowering cholesterol, reducing stress and being physically active are key to helping reduce the risk of heart disease -- and playing tennis can help you accomplish all these things [source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute].
In the 1980s, the College Alumni Health Study showed that men who burn at least 2,000 calories per week through exercise have lower death rates from heart disease (one-fourth to one-third lower) than those who do not, and they live, on average, one to two years longer [source: Brandt]. The good news is that tennis goes a long way toward achieving that 2,000-calorie goal.
An average-sized man burns around 600 calories playing just one hour of singles tennis (425 calories for doubles), and the average woman burns 420 calories playing singles (330 playing doubles) [source: Woods]. That means that playing just a few hours of weekly tennis can reduce your risk of heart disease significantly.