| By Steve Haar

As you approach your favorite tennis courts for a match, from a distance, you hear some terrific dance music. Getting closer you see a large group of adults moving in rapid fashion around the court and hitting tennis balls, all with smiles on their faces. What’s going on here? Welcome to Cardio Tennis (CT)!

With more than 1,800 official CT sites nationally, CT is the newest and fastest-growing health program in the country. A heavy emphasis on fitness and fun and a lesser emphasis on stroke mechanics, makes CT a most beneficial way to burn calories, increase vitality, look great, meet new friends and enjoy tennis all at a very affordable price.
The facts … the percentage of Americans who are either overweight or obese has grown from 47 percent to 65 percent of the population in the past 20 years! We have become an increasingly sedentary society whose highlight of the day for many is to read and send e-mail, or watch “Dancing With the Stars.” People, this is a health crisis!
For me, it’s no contest. I would much rather be on the court moving and hitting balls to some rocking music rather than struggling with an elliptical machine. The whole idea of treadmills, steppers, and spinning never turned me on, but for me, CT is the answer. CT features group activity drills to give players of all abilities an ultimate high-energy workout. Taught by a professional, CT includes a warm-up, cardio workout, and cool down phase.
Major benefits of CT include:
 
++Participants consistently elevating their heart rate into their aerobic training zone;
++Burning more calories than playing singles or doubles games;
++Almost like interval training, you get short cycles of a high intensity movement, then periodic rest; and
++An improvement on your tennis skills, while getting a high-energy workout.
 
The obvious extension of CT is to develop a program for our kids. Childhood obesity is a major medical issue and a CT4kids program is currently being developed. Having participated in and viewed the elements of this new program, I am telling you that your child will love this activity and they will be healthier participating in it. Look for CT4kids at your local club, park or school soon. If you don’t see it, ask for it.
Remember, you do not have to be a good tennis player or even a tennis player at all … you just have to want to have fun while getting healthy!
See you on the court.

For more information, or to find an affordable CT site near you, visit www.cardiotennis.com.

Steve Haar

<p>Steven Haar is a member of the United States Tennis Association/Long Island Region Board and PTR teaching professional. He may be reached by e-mail at steveoncourt@aol.com.</p>