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At 82 Years Old, San Antonio Woman Competes in International Tennis Tournaments, Teaches Sport to Others

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Even though she is 82 years old, Margaret Canby says she feels 50. Her secret to staying young: keeping active through the sport of tennis.

Canby has played tennis for more than 70 years, calling it “a sport you can play forever.”

Her hobby has also allowed her the opportunity to travel all around the world. This week, Canby will travel to Antalya, Turkey, to compete in the 34th International Tennis Federation Super-Seniors World Team Championships.

She also took part in the competition two years ago, when it was held in Croatia.

She will represent the United States as the captain of the women’s 80-and-over team as they compete for the Doris Hart Cup. Canby currently ranks second in doubles and 12th in singles in her age division, according to the International Tennis Federation Seniors World Rankings.

But when she’s not traveling the world, Canby is at home in San Antonio, Tex., where she volunteers with local, state and national programs to bring tennis to children, wounded warriors and other seniors.

Canby, who has played the game since she was 9 years old, has helped introduce elementary school-aged children to the sport. She began working with local school districts during her time as president of the San Antonio Tennis Association.

She also organizes the tennis portion of the Senior Games of San Antonio, after having volunteered for more than 10 years with United States Tennis Association’s San Antonio leagues.

Last year, she was inducted into the Texas Senior Games Hall of Fame.

Cathy Pottorf, director of the Senior Games of San Antonio, has worked with Canby since the late 1990s, when she began volunteering. Pottorf referred to Canby as “a role model for every senior out there” due to her active lifestyle.

The health benefits of tennis are numerous for anyone — even senior citizens. Playing the sport for three to four hours per week can lead to half a pound of weight loss in that time. It’s also been proven to improve strength, flexibility, and motor control, among other skills, in participants of all ages, according to the U.S. Tennis Association.

And Canby says this is the key to her longevity. “I try to exercise every day,” she explained, “because I believe seniors need to stay active in order to maintain good health and have a better life.”

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