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Tennis Breaks Into Fitness Market

AUGUST 31, 2005 -- The Tennis Industry Association, in association with the US Tennis Association and hundreds of tennis professionals across the country, has joined forces to launch Cardio Tennis, a new, fun group tennis activity that combines tennis with a high-energy cardio-vascular workout. The concept was explained at a press conference at the US Open and demonstrated in the US Open Smash Zone, an interactive area with its own court.

Tennis, as with many other sports, has been losing ground to activities that are more fitness-centric. Cardio Tennis aims to change their minds about tennis. The workout consists of five to 10 minutes of warm-up drills, 30 to 50 minutes of cardio drills and games and five to 10 minutes of cool-down drills. All the activities require the use of a tennis racquet. One routine resembles aerobics with a racquet. Other drills require the players to hit tennis balls on the run.

Some 2,500 educational DVDs have been sent to teaching pros. Some 550 pros were trained in workshops in 24 cities.

Cardio Tennis was developed by TIA president Jim Baugh, in conjunction with the USTA and tennis teaching professionals. Beginning this fall, Cardio Tennis programs will be available at public and private tennis facilities across the country.

"Tennis has always been considered an activity that is fun if you know how to play, but Cardio Tennis will change all that," said Baugh, a former president of Wilson. "Americans are constantly looking for new ways to lose weight and Cardio Tennis is a great way to get in shape, and have fun while doing it."

Americans spend billions of dollars a year searching for the ultimate workout that will help them shed those unwanted pounds. But a majority of programs available today lack Cardio Tennis' ability to get participants to consistently elevate their heart rates into their aerobic training zone. Cardio Tennis' curriculum allows the participant to burn more calories within short cycles of high-intensity workout and periods of rest, similar to interval training.

Denise Austin, one of the top fitness experts and instructors in the world has seen the potential of Cardio Tennis first hand and signed on as the official spokesperson.

"I was in a Cardio Tennis class back in April of this year with my husband and six6 other players," said Austin. "It was fun, I was energized and I got a great workout. And I'm not a great tennis player, but I didn't have to be. I hit a lot of balls, was constantly moving and got my heart rate pumping."

Taught by a Certified Tennis Professional, the Cardio Tennis Program includes a short dynamic warm-up, a cardio workout phase and a cool-down phase. Each phase has drills specifically designed to be fun, challenging and to get the player moving and their heart rate pumping.

The goal is to get a person's heart rate in their aerobic training zone (65-85% of their maximum recommended heart rate) for the entire session and keep it there. And while Cardio Tennis is not designed to make one a great player, you do improve because you hit so many forehands, backhands and volleys while getting a healthy workout.

"Cardio Tennis is great for players of all abilities, even beginners," continued Austin. "Even if you're not a regular tennis player and just want to get in shape while having fun, Cardio Tennis is the workout for you. But if you already play, this is an ideal way to improve your skills and get a great cardio workout as well."

To help keep you moving during your Cardio Tennis workout, some programs include high energy music. A company that saw the potential of Cardio Tennis is Power Music, (www.powermusic.com), the official music provider of Cardio Tennis. Power Music, the largest supplier of music for the fitness industry, has developed workout music specifically designed for Cardio Tennis that will help participants get their heart rate pumping.

But all Cardio Tennis workouts are more of a social experience than other fitness activities where you are confined to a boring machine.

Americans have been gravitating to fitness activities. With the dangers of and prevalence of obesity part of the national debate, Americans are taking action as there are now 56 million frequent fitness activity participants in the US. But while fitness activities are the only growth segment in sports and recreation, tennis, a traditional sport with about 4.6 million frequent players, has remained stagnant.

In order to boost the popularity of tennis as a great fitness activity, the TIA and USTA decided to ride the fitness wave and create Cardio Tennis.

"We know Cardio Tennis is a better workout and, more importantly, is more fun than some of those boring fitness programs you find in gyms," Baugh continued. "In our pilot programs, 63% thought Cardio Tennis was a better workout than their normal fitness routine and 79% said Cardio Tennis was more fun!"

Throughout '05, the TIA has been signing up facilities as official Cardio Tennis sites, with an anticipated 1,000 sites to be on board by this fall. All Cardio Tennis sites are listed on the new consumer website, CardioTennis.com.

Another supporter of Cardio Tennis is the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, a not-for-profit multi-specialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. The Cleveland Clinic has deemed Cardio Tennis as a healthy activity.

"Cardio Tennis is a great idea," said Gordon Blackburn, Ph.D., Associate Staff, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at The Cleveland Clinic. "The curriculum is designed to give participants a great workout and has three segments of a healthy activity…warm up, cardiovascular conditioning, and then a cool down segment, while fostering a fun social interaction. We are excited about activities that get America energized, fit and healthy."

Also on board with Cardio Tennis is Polar, the manufacturer of heart-rate monitors for heart-rate based activities. Polar is the official heart rate monitor of Cardio Tennis and will lend and sell their monitors to Cardio Tennis programs across the country. Polar's advance heart rate monitors have the ability to provide real-time heart rate info, which is key to the Cardio Tennis program.


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Sporting goods industry

Tennis Industry Association
US Tennis Association
Cleveland Clinic Foundation

heart rate
fitness activity
heart rate pumping
tennis player
healthy activity

Cardio Tennis
Jim Baugh
Denise Austin
Gordon Blackburn

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