Health and Social Benefits of Pickleball for Young and Older Adults

Health and Social Benefits of Pickleball for Young and Older Adults

Are you looking for an active, interactive, and low-impact sport to help you stay in shape after retirement? If you’re like 3.1 million other mature adults, pickleball might be right for you: A fun, light-on-your-feet game that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong, pickleball has been heralded as one of the best sports not just for young adults but also for seniors. Pickleball is more social and strategic than other low-impact activities, like swimming or walking, so it’s the perfect way to simultaneously strengthen your body and your mind. 

Pickleball Benefits for Older Adults: 4 Compelling Reasons to Try Pickleball 

  1. Unlike other racquet sports, pickleball won’t cause joint injury.

Tennis and badminton can cause strain injuries (like tennis elbow) in players of all ages because these sports force players to put significant power into their shots, which stresses their joints and muscles. Pickleball, on the other hand, has been modified to ensure player comfort. During pickleball, players use a particular hollow, perforated ball that’s very lightweight, so they don’t need to be keen to stay competitive. 

During pickleball, players use a particular hollow, a perforated ball that’s very lightweight

The pickleball play-style reinforces hitting the ball from below the waist, rather than high in the air, which significantly reduces joint and muscle strain. A single game can also be completed in about 15 minutes, so even players with limited stamina can enjoy a fun round of pickleball.

  1. As a social sport, pickleball can powerfully boost your mood and cognition.

Playing pickleball engages multiple areas of the brain: As you play, you’ll need to plan your moves, respond to the opposing team’s strategy, and coordinate with your partner. This sport can help you maintain excellent mental acuity, along with the vascular benefits of exercise (physical activity increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain). Studies have shown that engaging in frequent moderate activity after age 60 can cut the risk of developing dementia in half.

Playing pickleball engages multiple areas of the brain

Research reveals that exercise is one of the best ways to combat depression and anxiety, too. For some people, regular exercise is as effective as an SSRI for alleviating the symptoms of depression, and it can reduce the incidence and severity of panic attacks. For older adults, social sports like pickleball also serve a community-building function; they prevent seniors from becoming isolated, and they’re a great way to build strong friendships.

  1. Playing pickleball is excellent for your physical health.

Regular exercise is a popular way to improve bone and muscle strength, maintain agility, and promote better sleep - but that’s only the beginning of its physical benefits. Scientists have discovered that staying active into old age can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%. Staying in shape can also lower your risk of developing other severe health conditions, like diabetes and cancer.

  1. Pickleball looks (and feels) easy, but it still burns a lot of calories.

As we get older, maintaining a healthy weight becomes more challenging, for a few reasons: Most people experience a slow decline in their basal metabolic rate (the number of calories their bodies burn while at rest) after age 40, which makes it easy to gain unwanted weight, even if you don’t change your diet. At the same time, the body begins to lose lean muscle mass and redistribute fat deposits - a process known as “fat centralization.” Fat stores move away from the extremities, like the limbs and face, and collect around the abdomen. For this reason, many people start to notice extra belly fat during middle age, even if they haven’t gained a lot of weight. 

A single half-hour pickleball session can burn up to 300 calories

When paired with a healthy diet, regular pickleball sessions can help you get rid of this age-related weight gain by increasing the number of calories you burn every week. A single half-hour pickleball session can burn up to 300 calories, putting its calorie-burning power on par with higher-impact activities like cycling and jogging. The engaging, social nature of pickleball is also highly beneficial for weight loss. Because playing pickleball feels recreational (and not like a chore), people are much more likely to stick with it over the long term. Let’s face it - a great game of pickleball is way more fun than running on a treadmill for half an hour!

To enjoy the many health benefits of pickleball, all you’ll need to do is buy an inexpensive ball and paddle, then find a place to play. At HiSports, we can help you choose the right pickleball equipment, learn the basic rules of the game, and find (or create) a court. Contact our friendly team of sports enthusiasts in Canada, to begin discovering the advantages - and the fun - of pickleball.

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