As pickleball climbs in popularity, more people choose the sport to be their primary way of getting exercise.
The health benefits of pickleball are a lot like the game itself: there’s more to it than it seems.
So, let’s take a deep-dive look at the 6 health benefits of playing pickleball and see just how beneficial it can be.
Cardio is a treasure trove of healthy goodness. Cardio can help you lose weight, get better sleep, reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, improve your immune system, and more.
The trick is finding a way to get cardio without pain, discomfort, and frustrations.
Pickleball is a great way to get cardio, without all that bad stuff, for two main reasons:
One: Pickleball is enjoyable at every intensity level. Want a laid-back game to get your hips moving and get outside? Pickleball shines as a recreational, fun sport.
Want an intense, back and forth match that leaves you gasping for air? Pickleball also has a growing competitive scene.
Two: Cardio has an expensive cost for most people: Joint pain. Pickleball is naturally low-impact and approachable while burning up to 40% more calories than walking.
Flexibility is a core aspect of our physical health, allowing us to access more of the world while decreasing our chances of hurting ourselves.
But not everyone has the time or desire to commit to something like an entire yoga routine.
Pickleball is a low-impact way for you to loosen up and get a full-body stretch.
Players unknowingly extend and stretch their hips, legs, arms, shoulders, and back throughout a match.
Pickleball offers a holistic, full-body stretch to many that cannot get one elsewhere.
Reduced Health Risks
Anyone who has had a repeat or nagging injury knows the old saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is wrong.
Injuries tend to make more injuries.
Either we hurt the weakened area or injure something else trying to compensate.
But, on the other side of the coin, health risks go down if we stay mobile and active as we heal.
It can feel like a ‘rock and a hard place’ scenario.
Pickleball can be a great way for people with injuries to get their exercise. Of course, it depends on the damage and extent of the injury, but those relying on walking for their workout may find better success with pickleball.
Going to the gym can feel like an isolated and lonely punishment, making keeping the habit difficult.
Pickleball has a tight-knit community that’s incredibly welcoming and warm – they love to play and want more people to play with.
We’re social creatures. Even those of us that are relatively introverted still need some social interactions.
Most people that struggle with going to the gym end up getting a gym buddy, the idea that both of you together will hold the other accountable.
With pickleball, the community alone can be reason enough that you’re eagerly counting down the days until you can play again.
The body and the mind are connected. Poor mental health leads to poor physical health. Good mental health…. well, you get the picture.
A key aspect of pickleball is the mental side of the game. It’s a sport that rewards thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.
If that sounds like homework, don’t run away yet.
The chess-like quality of pickleball is hidden. You’re just playing your third match in a row when you realize you’re thinking shots and points ahead. The game makes healthy problem-solving approachable and easy; you won’t even know you’re doing it.
Mental health is hard to gauge, much different from physical health. For example, when you lift weights, you can see the muscles and definition forming, a visual snapshot of your progress.
Mental health is different, both when it’s improving and decreasing. So, when you’re playing pickleball, don’t be surprised if your mood keeps getting better and better.
Pickleball can help manage diabetes by improving the rate the body naturally produces insulin.
If you know anyone with diabetes or have it yourself, you know how difficult it is to try and get a hold of it through exercise and diet alone.
Pickleball is an addictive and fun sport with a very accessible entry point, so make sure you pass this on to anyone you think might need it.
While I said there are 6 health benefits for pickleball in this article, I lied.
I sort of scattered little breadcrumbs throughout, hinting at pickleball’s secret 7th health benefit:
Pickleball is fun.
That’s the most significant health benefit it has; you want to keep playing it.
It doesn’t matter how healthy or beneficial a workout might be if you never do it.
With pickleball, that’s not a problem.
Kalindi Dinoffer is trained in multiple aspects of mindfulness in life and in sports, sharing on her blog MindfulKalindi.com. She is also certified to teach yoga, fitness, reiki, and MFR. Kalindi also serves as VP marketing at OnCourtOffCourt.com, a leading supplier of tennis, pickleball, fitness and yoga training aids and equipment and has been published in Tennis industry Magazine and Pickleball Magazine, and has conducted workshops at conferences around the world. In her spare time, Kalindi plays tennis, pickleball and table tennis and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and cross country skiing in the winter.