Pickleball is a great source of aerobic exercise and can help burn off unwanted calories. Any exercise that makes your muscles burn more oxygen is considered aerobic, and pickleball certainly fits that quota. Some fitness experts even consider pickleball a HIIT activity, because it involves high-intensity movement punctuated with short periods of rest. Yet the unique rhythm of pickleball also means less strain on joints and muscles compared to other workouts.
Pickleball can improve your overall mood and ward off depression! Any style of exercise is clinically proven to boost your overall mental health. Researchers found that older adults in particular were more likely to avoid depression than those who didn’t play. “I believe it makes older adults’ lives richer and happier,” says Jungsu Ryu, 3Ph.D., an assistant professor of sport management at Marshall University in West Virginia. “Engaging seriously in playing pickleball may buffer any tip of negative emotions that people have during transitions to retirement and later life. Adding another mental health boost, pickleball is very social! We know relationships help people live long, healthy lives, which means pickleball offers two mental health boosters for the price of one! Exercise and connection. No wonder it’s so popular!
Pickleball is known to improve your balance and agility. As we age, many adults start to slow down physically, with 80% not getting their recommended amount of physical activity each week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Exercising less means losing range of motion along with hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Using a racquet to hit the ball, while bouncing gingerly around the court, makes pickleball a simple enough sport to help revive these skills – and fun enough for participants to come back again, and again. When you love something, it doesn’t feel like work. Yet the benefits are yours to reap, just the same.
Pickleball can help reduce health risks! Playing an hour of pickleball three days a week has been linked to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and improved cardiorespiratory fitness levels, according to the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology. Considering that all three issues contribute to the number one chronic disease in America, heart disease, this is a powerful plug for pickleball. Ready to hit the court? As with any sport, don’t forget to warm-up and stretch!