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Ace your way to good health this summer

Celebrate Wimbledon’s return this summer by serving up healthy food, smashing your exercise targets and calling game set match on an unhealthy lifestyle.

As the nation’s biggest tennis tournament makes a welcome return to your screen this month (28 June - 11 July), why not draw inspiration from it and boost your mental and physical wellbeing. Plus, through exercise and healthy eating you can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or simply a little rusty at the game, tennis is one of the best sports for giving your body an all over workout. Crouching, jumping, and side-to-side sprinting are just some of the moves made in a typical match, all contributing to a cardiovascular workout. In fact, an energetic hour-long game of tennis can burn up to 600 calories.

The benefits aren’t just physical either. Playing tennis requires concentration and strategic thinking, both of which are good for brain health. It’s a social sport too, giving you a healthy way to catch up with a friend – albeit over a net!

The sport also scores highly in convenience ratings. Many local parks are home to tennis courts which are free to use. While some won’t need to be booked in advance others may do, so check on your local council website for details before you set out. If you’d like help to improve your technique, most tennis clubs offer lessons for all levels, from absolute beginners to those who are more advanced.

And while you’re watching the professionals battle it out for the Wimbledon crown, treat yourself to some healthy championship themed snacks. Try strawberries and low-fat yoghurt instead of cream, reduce the sugar in your homemade shortbread ‘tennis ball’ biscuits and make an alcohol-free fruit punch with sugar-free lemonade, orange juice and slices of fresh fruit, cucumber and mint.

It is very important to understand your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Our simple online health check takes just a few minutes. The Healthier You programme is free to join and you can sign up without visiting your GP. The sessions are now available with a British Sign Language Interpreter if BSL is your first or preferred language.

It might be the most important thing you do today.

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