Tennis and keeping fit

Tennis and keeping fit

Listen to Phil talking about how taking up tennis when he retired has improved his health.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Interviewer: Good morning, Phil.

Phil: Morning, Jo.

Interviewer: Erm, what would you like to talk about today?

Phil: Er, I thought I'd just say a little bit about the importance of, erm, trying to keep your body fit when you're getting older. I was, er, I had, my blood pressure was getting higher and the doctor was saying it was getting close to needing medication to improve it. And I said to him, 'I think I'd rather not have the medication but I will try and take more exercise.' So, I had to find some form of exercise which was enjoyable and which would also keep me fitter. So, I chose to take up playing tennis. I, erm, I'm quite good at hitting a ball or catching a ball so that wasn't any problem. And I get very bored if I just go running. But tennis has the advantage that you have a ball to chase around for an hour, you're stopping and starting, and it also has a very good social aspect to it where you join a club and you meet lots of other people who are, a lot of them are the same age as you, and you soon find some friends to play with. And you can go and play a game regularly, and then afterwards have a cup of coffee and a conversation with people. So, it gets you out of the house and meeting other people, and I think it has a whole lot of advantages. And it's certainly worked for me because I started playing regularly about eight or nine years ago and I have never needed to have any medication for my blood pressure. In fact, my blood pressure now is lower and more healthy than it was before I started playing. I really just got rather lazy. I used to take exercise and play, I used to play squash and other games when I was younger but then I got lazy. My knees got a bit creaky and I stopped playing anything until I took up tennis. And I think, really, it's transformed my life. I'm so much fitter than I was eight years ago. I feel healthier for it. I've made a lot of new friends who I have a lot of fun with. And I think it has tremendous benefits.

Interviewer: Great! How old were you, may I ask, when you started playing tennis?

Phil: I think I was in my early sixties. I was between about, I was probably about 63, between 60 and 65. And I'm now 72. And, erm, I have, my tennis in that time has improved a lot. I have a friend who is a retired tennis professional who I play with quite a lot, and he's given me quite a few tips on how to improve my tennis. And now I even occasionally get invited to play by some of the better players in the tennis club, which I think is rather good. It improves my morale as well as my fitness.

Interviewer: Ah, that's great! Thank you very much. 

Phil: You're very welcome.


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Average: 4.6 (5 votes)

Submitted by meknini on Wed, 13/07/2022 - 12:00


I don't do much to keep fit except for frequent stretching and flexibility exercises that I regularly do on a daily basis like yoga and palate. And, of course, I watch what I eat as overeating could lead to sagginess and bulging tummy with spare tires hanging around my waist which could be quite unappealing. As for exercise, there's not much that I could do except dribble my basket ball on the front yard a couple times a week and as for taking up new sport, I think I would wisely decline since I already did most of them in my much younger days and paragliding which I haven't yet tried wouldn't be such a good idea at my age. Maybe I would like to go back to playing tennis if I could find a reasonable sparring partner.

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Submitted by danisep on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 20:43

I used to go to gym, but I got an hernia and now I'm resting after the surgery, but yeah I got used to it and now miss the work out. the next time I'm gonna be careful about it and changed the way how I was training. using less machines, I think it'll be good doing calisthenics.

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Thu, 05/11/2020 - 22:38

I used to play football and going to the gym, but now I work out only. It'll be interesting to try to do something new such as extreme sports or to do hiking close to a lake. Obviously, any sport that you want to do is healthy and improve health.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Sun, 02/08/2020 - 15:52

Yes, I'd like to take up a new sport. But it's hard to find time for that, because maybe I'm lazy..... ;)
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 00:48

I engages in gymnastics to keep fit and exercise. No, I wouldn't.

Submitted by nikoslado on Wed, 13/05/2020 - 20:33

Dear Teachers Peter M and Kirk, I understand all your answering comments on ''since before''. Also, for me to be more sure, I searched on the Internet several English texts with ''since before'' and I've finally got it.Though, my confusion's still growing up, because the Task1/5th asks us:''How is Phil's blood pressure now?'', and it accepts as true the option: ''It has gone down since( the time) before he started playing tennis'', that it's completely wrong, since we know that this fact happened after he started playing tennis (till now).But if we skip ''before'' it would be OK. That was my previous query...What do you think? Best wishes Nikoslado

Hello Nikoslado,

I agree with you. The sentence is more accurate without before because his blood pressure improved when he started playing tennis (or even after, because it probably was not an immediate change). 



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nikoslado on Sun, 10/05/2020 - 16:22

Dear Teachers, please, I need some help or information about the expression ''since before'' you used in Task 1,5th question,2nd answer.These two words are completely opposite and it causes me an absolute confusion about the exact time point in the procedure of Phil's blood pressure starting going down.It seems like Phil's blood pressure started going down before his playing tennis, not after it.Anyway, according to the contents, I chose the second answer, it was correct, but it still confuses me. What would you say? Ever thankful Nikoslado

Hello Nikoslado

Another way of saying this is 'since the time before'. Does that make more sense?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Nikoslado,

It's quite possible to use since before like this.

Since is used to refer to a point in time in the past at which something began. This can be a date, a day, a year (etc.) or it can be a point defined by some event in the world:

...since the company was founded

...since I finished university

...since before I finished university


The last example here allows the speaker to provide a rough date - not an exact moment but certainly no later than another event.



The LearnEnglish Team