Pickleball is now considered the fastest growing sport in America. He is already here with us. Have you heard of it? We explain to you what it consists of.

What is pickleball?

Some describe pickleball as a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis. Pickleball is a beginner-friendly field sport that is played with rackets or paddles and a perforated plastic ball. For the most part, it’s quicker to pick up than other racquet sports (like tennis or badminton), and its popularity continues to grow.

When beginners play for the first time, some say it feels like playing ping pong standing on the table. The game is fun, and it’s also a real workout. Pickleball is considered an aerobic exercise that uses full body movement as you run around the court and rotate your core and upper body to hit the ball. Pickleball works the muscles of the whole body, including the lower body (legs and buttocks) when running down the court, the hips and core (when performing rotations), and the upper body (when hitting the ball).

Potential health benefits of pickleball

Pickleball, like other types of exercise, has great health benefits. Evidence (and the sport’s wide popularity) suggests that pickleball is indeed a type of activity that keeps people coming back. According to a study published in September 2022 in the journal Science and Sports, people say they enjoy pickleball 150% more than walking for 30 minutes.

Here are some potential health benefits that research has associated with this sport

Better cardiorespiratory fitness

Because pickleball is an aerobic exercise, it improves your heart and lung health. A small study from the American Council on Exercise found that VO2 max (a measure of cardiovascular fitness and endurance) improved by about 12% in a group of middle-aged and older adults. aged (40-85) after they started playing pickleball one hour per session, three times a week for six weeks, and also experienced a 5 point decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 3 points of their diastolic blood pressure. The previously mentioned Science and Sports study concluded that playing doubles pickleball results in a greater demand for physical activity (in terms of average heart rate, maximum heart rate, calorie expenditure, and perceived exertion) than playing doubles pickleball. market.

Increased activity levels for seniors

Staying active as you age is linked to improved mobility and physical functioning. Pickleball is a sport suitable for all ages, including the elderly, since you can control the intensity of the game, the court is smaller which means less running time, and most blows are delivered underhand or laterally, which reduces the strain on the shoulders.

Improved mental health

One of the main benefits of pickleball is that it provides an opportunity for socialization. And socializing helps combat loneliness, which increases the risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke and depression. One study found that “serious leisure” activities, defined by qualities such as perseverance, effort, and social rewards (and of which pickleball is a part), are associated with a lower likelihood of depression.

Is Pickleball good for weight loss?

According to the research mentioned earlier, people burn an average of 350 calories per hour playing pickleball. Since it takes an overall calorie deficit to lose weight, pickleball can certainly be part of a weight loss plan. But keep in mind that losing weight usually requires a combination of exercise and following a specific eating plan that reduces the total number of calories you eat throughout the day, notes a fact sheet. from the American College of Sports Medicine.

And of course, whether or not exercise is good for weight loss really depends on how much effort you put into it. For many people, pickleball is a social opportunity to hang out with friends, and that’s certainly a valid reason for wanting to play. However, if your goal is to lose weight, you’ll likely need to put in more of an effort on the court. You may also need to increase your game level.

How to get started with pickleball

Pickleball is suitable for beginners, even if you have no experience in racquet or paddle sports. Someone who has never played a racquet sport can play their first match in an hour and a half to two hours, after the first steps. The learning curve is shorter than for other similar racquet sports because the court is small compared to a tennis court (it is the size of a badminton court), so there are fewer ground to cover, the handle of your racquet is short, which makes the ball easier to hit.

So, ready to get into pickleball?

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.