Tennis is a whole-body workout that's fun at the same time.

Racquet Sports: A Fun Way to Get Fit

Running, swatting, ducking, leaping, crouching—racquet sports keep you moving, that’s for sure. They’re also fun, social, and a great way to boost your concentration and relieve stress. And racquet sports don’t require a lot of equipment or training to get started. Here are the three most popular racquet sports—try one and see how quickly you get hooked.

1. Tennis

Fun for both kids and adults, tennis is a true all-ages sport. In fact, many tennis-lovers continue to play even at an advanced age. You’ll burn plenty of calories playing tennis, but that’s not the only benefit of this high-energy sport. Because tennis requires intense concentration and focus, it’s a great stress-reliever, too. Not sure how to volley or hit a backhand over the net? Join a class or sign up for lessons; tennis is taught at many community centers and public courts. You can play tennis one-on-one or with two players to a team (doubles). And if you’ve ever noticed that your friends who play tennis are in fabulous shape, here’s the reason: one hour of tennis burns more than 700 calories. Visit the Tennis Welcome Center for everything you need to know to get started.

2. Badminton

This is a sport you may have played as a kid, then forgotten all about. But did you know that badminton provides an excellent full-body workout? One plus for badminton is that the equipment is simple and cheap. You can buy a badminton set complete with racquets, net, and shuttlecock (also called the birdie) in any toy store or department store. Like tennis, badminton can be played as singles or doubles; you can even play as a group or round robin just for fun. You may have played badminton at a picnic or on the beach, but did you know it’s a serious competitive sport played around the world? Visit the website of Team USA Badminton to find out about tournaments, coaching, and to follow the progress of internationally recognized American badminton players.

3. Racquetball

Did you know that this fun and lively game burns hundreds of calories an hour? That’s because racquetball keeps you moving fast, as you bounce the rubber ball off walls, the floor, and ceiling. Racquetball courts are popular at many gyms and recreation centers for good reason; this sport is lively, social, and easy to learn. You can play it casually for fun and fitness, or get competitive and sign up for a league. Racquetball is easy to learn; take a class or private lesson at your local YMCA, community center, or fitness center. Don’t forget to wear safety gear; the ball can get pretty wild.

Want to know how many calories you’ll burn in an hour of tennis, racquetball, badminton, or another favorite sport? Use this Physical Activity Calorie Counter from the American Council on Exercise to find out.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.