Get Active: Tennis

It’s better for you than swimming, running or cycling


Explain it to me: A study last year by Oxford University scientists found that tennis was better for your health than swimming, running and cycling – because you’re running in stops and starts, it’s the perfect form of interval training.

Where do I start: All you need is a racquet (a secondhand one is fine for beginners) and a can of balls and the location of public tennis courts (which are generally free to use) near you. You will also need someone to play against, or three if you want to play doubles. It really doesn’t matter if you hit the ball into the nearest canal or dissolve into tears every time you hit the ball into the net, you’re not going to be playing in any Grand Slam finals so just relax, swing freely and above all, win every single match you play. Whether you like it or not, your inner competitive beast will soon emerge.

Costs: Tennis club membership fees vary greatly. One good-value programme is the Parks Tennis scheme ( which uses public courts. Equipment is provided free and you’ll receive a very good standard of coaching for €55 a month. You can get tennis club membership for about around €250 a year, but the bigger clubs with indoor courts, such as Fitzwilliam, cost over €1,000 a year. Coaching rates vary too – anywhere between €20 and €50 a hour.

Top tips: Serena Williams began by playing on free-to-use public courts in Compton in Los Angeles. You should too.

You can pick up a good, secondhand racquet from most tennis club shops.

The people at Tennis Ireland ( will be able to answer your all your questions. Happy hitting!