Dad of Divas' Reviews: Tennis Players Have Stronger Bones Than Non-Players, Study Shows

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tennis Players Have Stronger Bones Than Non-Players, Study Shows

Research of pregnant women indicates bone mineral density levels
are “significantly higher” in tennis players than in non-players. 

A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health shows “tennis players have stronger bones than non-players.” Playing tennis, the study indicates, helps protect against the loss of bone mineral during pregnancy.  

The pilot study, of 18 healthy women between ages 18 and 39, showed that while bone mineral density levels dropped overall during pregnancy, they were still “significantly higher in tennis players” versus the control group at 12 weeks and through the birth. 

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati and Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati conducted the study, titled “Bone Mineral Loss During Pregnancy: Is Tennis Protective?” It showed that bone mineral density (BMD) was greater in pregnant women who played recreational tennis when compared with sedentary pregnant women. Tennis was the only exercise activity that the pregnant women participated in. 
Ten women in the study did no exercise during their pregnancy, while eight played recreational tennis. The tennis players were recruited from clubs in the greater Cincinnati area. All were rated above 2.5 on the National Tennis Rating Program scale and played tennis at least twice a week for more than 30 minutes at a time. The players kept log sheets of their activity, and they all generally stopped playing by the third trimester, by their own choice. 

Importantly, during the period when they reduced or stopped playing tennis, bone mineral measures also fell. “‘Detraining’ may undo positive benefits” of exercise such as tennis when it comes to BMD, the study said. 
“This study has potential important public health implications regarding recommendations for continuation of activity during pregnancy,” wrote researchers Mina Dimov, Ph.D.; Jane Khoury, Ph.D.; and Reginald Tsang, M.D. They caution, however, that it is a pilot study, with a small sample size, intended to provide information relevant for future research. 

“These findings are very relevant as tennis provides tremendous health benefits for all adults and children,” said Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the Tennis Industry Association, which supported the Cincinnati study, along with the Women’s Sports Foundation, the National Osteoporosis Foundation and other groups. “In fact, there are now tennis programs and formats for children, such as QuickStart Tennis (, that help to start kids on a path toward healthy activity that they can maintain through adulthood—as well as the tennis workout program Cardio Tennis (” To find out about all the ways to get involved with the healthy aspects of tennis, go to
About the TIA
The Tennis Industry Association, the not-for-profit trade association for tennis, is THE unifying force in the tennis industry whose mission is to promote the growth and economic vitality of tennis by working closely with the U.S. Tennis Association and industry partners to develop and implement initiatives to increase tennis participation and improve the health of industry businesses.  

Core TIA activities include TIA/USTA Tennis Health Index, Consumer and Trade Research, GrowingTennis System™ including  

Tennis Welcome Centers, Cardio Tennis, 50-50 Co-op Program, QuickStart Tennis and Visit  or call 866-686-3036.

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