by The American Chiropractic Association

The sport of tennis is often saddled with a reputation for being a rather “dainty” game, thanks to the well-mannered fans who frequently grace the stands at professional tennis matches-not to mention the elite country clubs that typically provide tennis facilities. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), however, the game of tennis can be not only an extremely physical challenge, but also a tremendously healthy endeavor.

“Tennis is a game that-if you start playing early and continue to play it-can actually reduce your risk of heart attacks because of the cardiovascular workout it provides,” says Dr. Scott Bautch of the ACA’s Occupational Health Council.

One of the great things about playing tennis is that you only need to find one other person to play with in order to play a match. In fact, if you can find a tennis facility that has a tennis wall-or a wall with a horizontal line that simulates a tennis net-you can get a great tennis workout all by yourself.

“The combination of both high and low exertion levels that tennis offers can provide a unique exercise experience, as well as tremendous health benefits,” says Dr. Bautch. In addition to helping to reduce your risk of heart attacks, playing tennis can also tone the muscles of your upper and lower body, burn calories, and improve your balance, hand-eye coordination and agility.