Pickleball is a little-known sport that has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Much like tennis or badminton, it’s easy to learn, but has a high skill cap at top levels. It’s a lot of fun, but it also has a number of physical, mental, and social benefits for players. We’ll go into these pickleball benefits in more detail throughout this article.

What Is Pickleball?

Some people think of pickleball as a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. It is played on a court that is about the size of a badminton court. The game is played using paddles and a plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball. One of its unique features is that it emphasizes finesse rather than raw power, making it great for all ages.

Pickleball has been gaining popularity in recent years.  This fun sport experienced a 21.3% increase in participants from 2019 to 2020 alone.

Pickleball Health Benefits

Pickleball’s benefits range from improved physical health to better mental and social wellbeing. The health benefits of pickleball include the following:

1. Improves Cardiovascular Fitness

Pickleball offers great cardiovascular exercise because players move around a lot over the course of a 20-minute match. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise), so a best-of-three match played multiple times per week could easily help you meet your requirements for physical activity.

2. Works Most Muscle Groups

Pickleball involves a lot of movement, and that helps exercise a variety of muscle groups, including your arms, shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, calves, ankles, etc.  It’s only light strength training, so you would want to supplement it with more rigorous workouts, but pickleball can help counteract age-related muscular degeneration.

3. Requires Less Stamina Than Other Sports

Even with the wide range of movement involved, pickleball is still easier on the body than other sports, making it ideal for seniors. With the smaller court, there’s less running, and the lightweight equipment reduces the risk of injury. It has all the strategy of tennis, but without the physical strain.

4. Elevates Mental Health

Exercise tends to make people feel good.  People who exercise regularly often report they have more energy, feel more alert, sleep better, and have a brighter outlook after a workout.  And research indicate a positive relationship between consistent exercise and mental health.  One study published in 2018 showed 43.2% fewer bad mental health days among those who exercised regularly, making exercise a powerful way to cope with mood disorders like depression.

5. It Connects You with Others

Of course, it’s not all about physical and mental health. Sports of all kinds provide a great way to connect with others, and pickleball is no different. Given that it can be played by people of all ages, pickleball is a great way for anyone to build relationships with their peers as well as bridge generational gaps.

6. It’s Fun!

Finally, pickleball is fun! There’s a reason it has been climbing in popularity, and that’s because it provides an invigorating alternative to simply hitting the treadmill or pumping iron. It’s easy to pick up, so get outside with some friends, bat a pickleball around, and have yourself a wonderful time doing it!

Pickleball Tips for Beginners

If you’re just starting out, these tips can help you out as you get the hang of pickleball:

  • Limber up before playing. Do some stretches. Prevent injury.
  • Wear good shoes designed for court sports.
  • Do not play when the court is wet.
  • When serving, it’s about control, not power. Don’t serve super hard.  Just get the ball into play.
  • When playing doubles, give your partner space. Don’t hover over the center line.
  • Be patient. Strategize, and practice placing the ball in spots that make your opponents move.
  • Learn to dink, which is hitting the ball into a high arc over the net.

Most of all, have fun!

Common Questions About Pickleball and Fitness

Some common questions people have about pickleball fitness benefits include:

How many calories does pickleball burn?

Pickleball burns an average of 8 calories per minute. Over a 20-minute game, that would be about 160 calories.

Is pickleball good exercise for seniors and older adults?

Yes! It’s relatively low impact, reducing the risk of injury for older adults.

Is pickleball hard to play?

Generally, no. If you’re used to tennis or badminton, you’ll adapt pretty quickly.

Can you play pickleball anywhere?

Not really. You’ll need either a dedicated court or a hard surface with your own net. It’s easy to set up if you have the equipment, though.

Enjoy Pickleball at Union Park by Hillwood

If you’re looking for a great place to live, play pickleball, and connect with some new friends, Union Park by Hillwood in Little Elm, Texas has a dedicated pickleball court in our Fitness Park! Our community has new construction homes to suit a variety of tastes and budgets, plus a broad array of other amenities you and your family can enjoy as well.  Come by for a visit, take a virtual tour of the community, or get in touch to learn more!