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Do You Play Pickleball? Well, You Should!

By Camilla Moore November 15, 2022 Health and Fitness

If you’re a senior looking for an excellent way to get in shape, look no further than pickleball! A new study has shown that this popular sport is an excellent exercise for older adults. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up a paddle and start playing!

A new peer-reviewed study published in the September issue of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity suggests that pickleball can provide a moderate workout for middle-aged or older people. The study looked at several factors in assessing exercise effectiveness. The two most important were the number of steps and heart rate.

What Is Pickleball?

It is a paddle sport that combines badminton, tennis, and table tennis elements. It is played on a court with a net similar to tennis, with players using paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball over the net.

Pickleball is growing in popularity because it is a great way to exercise, socialize, and have fun. The game can be played indoors or outdoors, making it accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Plus, it’s a relatively low-impact sport, so it’s easy on the joints.

How much fitness does pickleball provide?

The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA)  recommends 150 moderate to vigorous activities or 75 minutes weekly. However, there is also a dose-response curve that indicates that more exercise can provide more significant benefits.

The study showed that players averaged 3,322 steps per hour for a singles match and 2,790 steps per hour for a doubles match. However, when looking at heart rate, players spent about 40 percent of their time in the moderate heart rate intensity zone. With these numbers, it was averaged that players would need to play 4.5 hours of pickleball a week to meet the standards.

Other Important Benefits

This study was a well-designed, peer-reviewed study and provided solid evidence for pickleball to achieve the physical activity guidelines. In addition, pickleball offers other essential elements of a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle, especially for older folks.

Social Interaction

For many people, playing pickleball is a great way to socialize and interact with other people. This is especially true for older folks, who may not have as many socializing opportunities. However, pickleball is a game that people of all ages and abilities can play, and it offers a great way to meet new people and stay active.

Cognitive Function

Research has shown that physical activity can help improve cognitive function in older adults. In addition, exercise is associated with executive function improvements, including planning, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Improving Balance and Coordination

Many people take up pickleball to stay active as they get older. What they may need to realize is that pickleball can also have a significant impact on their balance and coordination.

The quick movements and constant changing of direction required to play pickleball help to train the body to maintain balance. This is especially important for older adults at a greater risk of falls. In addition, picking up the ball and hitting it with the paddle requires coordination between the arms and legs.

As a result, playing pickleball can help to prevent falls and improve overall coordination.

It’s Fun!

Pickleball is a great game for all ages and skill levels. It can be played indoors or outdoors, making it a versatile option for serious athletes and casual players.

The game is similar to tennis, but the court is smaller, and the paddles are more oversized. Pickleball is also played with a Wiffle Ball, which makes it slower-paced and easier to control. Because of these features, pickleball is often described as a cross between tennis and ping-pong.

Pickleball is a great low- to moderate-impact exercise like golf, yoga, or Zumba. It can be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle with healthy diet, minimizing inflammation, and mindfulness.

Whether you’re looking for an intense workout or a fun way to spend time with friends, pickleball is a great option. So get out there and give it a try!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you tried pickleball? How has it changed your overall lifestyle? If pickleball is not your thing, what other sport do you engage in? How does it impact your wellness?

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a very fit guy fall backwards and hit his head my first week, then I slipped and fell on my side (luckily nothing broken) the next week…you need special sneakers indoors, which I did not know…and MANY injury stories about pickle ball seniors…so beware!

Trudy Knowles

I started playing pickleball when I was 65. Now, 8 years later, I’m still at it. I love the game. It helps my reflexes and coordination. I get a good cardio workout. And I’ve made some great friends. I try to play 3-5 times a week.

Karen Bach

Pickleball is a great way to connect with people and make new friends, as well as an enjoyable way to get some exercise. I would highly recommend it!

The Author

Dr. Camilla Moore is a Lifestyle Medicine Chiropractor and a freelance medical and health writer. She is a self-published author and you can read her other articles at her blog, The Wellness Cabinet where she writes about exercise, fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness.

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