Head to toe, tennis is the ultimate workout.

There aren't many sports activities that test every part of your body. Basketball and soccer are good for your legs and your aerobic health. Weightlifting makes you stronger.

Tennis takes care of everything. It requires QUICKNESS and AGILITY to get to the ball, CORE STRENGTH to get power into your shots, STAMINA to be able to play for a couple of sets and MENTAL TOUGHNESS to stay one step ahead of your opponent. All that while having fun, working off stress and energizing your spirits.

Here is what tennis can do for you:

Head

Tennis sharpens the mind as it shapes the body. Every time a ball is hit, you must react and respond quickly. And if you're going to be successful, you must map out a strategy to use against your opponent. This helps keep your brain agile and young - and helps relieve tension.

Arms

Swinging a racquet for an hour or two will help tone your biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms, and will leave you stronger and more sculpted throughout your upper body.

Flexibility

Tennis forces you to stretch dozens of muscles all over your body, including a few you probably didn't know you had.

Abs

Core strength may be a hot workout topic these days, but tennis players have known about it for years. That's because the core, or trunk, which includes your abs and lower back muscles, does the hard work when you hit a tennis ball. It not only keeps you balanced as you run, it provides the power in your strokes, along with your legs and upper body.

Legs

Your leg muscles - your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps - get a full workout from playing tennis. What's more, the powering explosive movements you make in tennis, such as taking a first step toward the ball or changing direction in a split second, are great for strengthening your "fast-twitch" muscle fibers, which are essential to explosive, anaerobic types of activity.

Heart

Interval training is a great way to improve heart function, and tennis trains the heart in an interval fashion. Your body works at a higher level as it runs around the court and then recovers at a lower intensity during the 20 to 30 seconds between points. This is the exercise routine often used on treadmills and elliptical trainers - and a lot more fun.

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The championship form of Venus Williams demonstrates why head to toe, tennis is the ultimate workout.
© Clive Brunskill Getty Images