Expert Advice

Expert Advice: Tennis Coach Dad Shares Fun Ways to Stay Active At Home

It’s been some time since we interviewed an expert! During this COVID-19 season of staying indoors even though Singapore’s Phase 2 measures are in place, it is essential to stay healthy. Do you know what are some fun ways to stay active at home?

Besides juggling with working from home and having new colleagues (the kids! and home-based learning!), making time to exercise may become a challenge. With active kids bouncing on the sofa or dashing from bedroom to kitchen, how about making physical activities a part of your family’s routine?

We spied a fun father who bought a huge inflatable swimming pool just before Singapore’s stay-home measures kicked in. Just imagine the splashing good times for his lucky children!

So, we took the chance to suss him out for other creative exercises he does with his family. For those who are not ready to rush to the gym or swimming pool, you can pick up some quick and easy exercise tips now because Mr. Darren Teo is the founder of Play! Tennis, which runs tennis lessons for kids and adults! In fact, they are one of the largest sports communities in Singapore with close to 6,000 members. If you’re wondering how to improve your tennis skills even when you’re “stuck at home”, or wish to work on that ball sense, read on for ideas!

*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

ways to stay active at home and play tennis
Fueled by his love for playing tennis, Darren conducts tennis lessons in Singapore for adults and children. Photo credit: Darren Teo

Hello, Darren! Thank you for taking time for a virtual interview with us. We know that you’ve been playing tennis for a long time. So, how did you fall in love with this game?

I started playing tennis in secondary school and got into the team. I continued playing competitively in Junior College (JC) and University. Although I enjoyed the game then, I was never really very committed to it, and did not train as hard as I should have.

I stopped for a few years after I graduated and picked up the racket again after seeing Roger Federer in action. He is the greatest player of all time and moves like a ballerina on the court.

How have you been keeping yourself active during this stay home period?

My workout routine is inspired by the very popular Manga character, One Punch Man. He is a bald-headed skinny guy that finishes off his enemies in just one punch. Apparently, he acquired his strength with the following workout routine:

100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10 km runs every day.

Yeah, so I try that every day.

tennis coach fitness inspiration one punch man manga
Who’s your fitness inspiration? Darren’s strict daily workout routine is inspired by One Punch Man. Credit: DKODING

WOW! That sounds like a pretty intense workout you’ve got there. Good work in keeping fab and fit while the rest of us are trying hard not to fatten up. Haha! Well, we also heard that you’re such a fun and chill dad! What are some fun ways of keeping your kids active and healthy even when indoors?

There were two activities that the kids loved. One was swimming, but you have to get a giant inflatable pool for that and be willing to put it in your living room if you do not have an outdoor area in your house!

The other activity was called Adventure in the Dark. We played the game at night with all the lights in the house switched off. The kids had to use a torch light to search for treasures hidden all around the house, whilst avoiding a scary zombie. I was the zombie, of course, and was blindfolded.

inflatable pool fun stay home activities for kids
Darren’s kids enjoyed (many) splashing good fun in their living home. Just some fun ways to stay active when at home, thanks to this dad for creating unforgettable memories! Photo credit: Celine Tan

Haha! That huge inflatable pool definitely wins kids’ hearts! No wonder it’s one of the best selling items besides the Air Fryer during this stay-home-stay-safe season. Back to playing sports… so, why should we choose tennis?

There are physical and mental benefits to playing tennis. Regular tennis games can help you achieve a fitter body, strengthen leg muscles leading to better mobility and agility, build stronger bones and heart, and reduces stress among other benefits! We have just released a new video to share about the benefits of playing tennis, whether as a beginner or an advanced player.

What are some creative ways we can exercise with a tennis ball (or any other sports balls) and stay active at home?

Yes, tennis practice exercises can be done indoors too. We offer an innovative tennis ball machine called the Play! Mate, which you can set up at home. The Play! Mate will feed tennis balls to you continuously, so you can practice non-stop. There’s a good hand-eye coordination drill that parents can do with their kids at home: Just toss the ball, let it bounce, and get their kid to catch it. It’s also one of the first steps to pick up tennis, even if you’re at home.

ways to stay active at home with kids
Playing tennis indoors? Why not! Darren creatively comes up with ways to play tennis at home with his kids. Photo credit: Celine Tan

Exercising at home takes a lot of… motivation. Haha! Can you serve up some inspiration to fellow busy mums and dads to get moving, please?

Well, your body is really the only thing you truly own in this world, and all experiences you have is made possible by your body. Please take good care of it. 

***

Indeed, we definitely need to take good care of our body especially during this fight against the Coronavirus. Eating nutritious food and keeping an active lifestyle are ways to keep ourselves in the pink of health!

PSST: We found some FREE online tennis lessons on Play! Tennis’ website! Now, anyone can practice some strokes at home, learn how to pick the right tennis racket, pick up useful mental strategies (not just for sports!) and follow their videos to build up your core strength, to name a few! :P

We hope you’ve made some wonderful memories with your family so far, and continue to make time to play! Bonding over indoor games or getting up to some creative workouts with the little ones add doses of laughter for any family!

What are some of the best ways to stay active at home with your children that they enjoy? Do share them in the comments below!

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