Such a silly name for a sport- but maybe you’ve been curious about this increasingly popular paddle sport that’s been taking over gym classes and fitness centers everywhere?
Pickleball is a fun combination of tennis and ping pong and has been attracting players of all ages and fitness levels- but especially older active adults.
But what’s so great about it?
It’s incredibly accessible for one. The court is small enough so you don’t have to move too much to hit the ball. You can play in doubles making playing a fun social experience. The rules are relatively simple making it easy to pick up and super beginner-friendly. The best part is the game is designed to be carefree and fun- none of the frustration that a game like golf can bring.
"What I think is great about pickleball is its simplicity. Very easy, straightforward rules and I like the fact that most people can become competent at playing it fairly quickly." says one of PEAC’s Pickleball coaches, Dan Marley.
If that’s not enough- consider some of these hidden health benefits that playing pickleball can bring!
Pickleball Benefit #1: You’ll lower your risk of heart disease
Pickleball gets you moving and if you play consistently the benefits will only increase. A recent study found middle-aged and older adults who played one hour of pickleball three days per week for six weeks improved their blood pressure. cholesterol and cardiorespiratory fitness levels.
“These positive changes to heart health are significant, as a large number of adults have elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension, or low cardiorespiratory endurance, which puts them at increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” says study author Lance Dalleck, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise and sport science at Western Colorado University.
Pickleball Benefit #2: It’s a social experience
Whether you’re playing against one person or in pairs this sport will give you the chance to interact with others. It gives you the chance for some friendly competitive play or just some general social interaction, which is important for any person at any age!
“Pickleball is just so much fun...the perfect combination of exercising and socializing! After discovering pickleball at PEAC, I quickly made many new friends and found that I was hooked on this fast-paced and strategic game. The most rewarding aspect of my job is introducing new players to the game, and helping our pickleball community get bigger and better.” says our very own pickleball instructor Gina Alonzo.
Getting involved with a sport like this is the perfect way to become part of a community and to get your exercise in!
Pickleball Benefit #3: It’s a fun way to get moving
Rather than using the treadmill or going for a walk this sport provides a fun experience for anyone who is looking for a fun and unique way to get their workout in.
A study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity found people become loyal to the sport because it helps them meet their fitness goals and enhance social connections. It’s a two-for-one workout!
“Sometimes people are more willing to play a sport when it’s fun, and people report that playing pickleball is way more fun than going for a walk or going on the treadmill,” says Casper, the study author.
“If you were to spend 60 minutes in the gym,” he continues, “it usually feels like 60 minutes. But when you’re doing something you enjoy, like pickleball, where you typically have time to talk and laugh in the game, all of a sudden you’ve been playing for 60 minutes and you think, ‘Where did the time go?’”
Pickleball Benefit # 4: It can help you stay independent for longer
Older adults who play Pickleball regularly will find that it helps improve their reflexes and balance which can help them live independently for longer.
The sport gives them a chance to practice hand-eye coordination and to improve their range of motion which can help minimize arthritis symptoms and help an individual continue to perform everyday tasks with ease. Combined with the social interaction this sport provides as well as the chance to think about strategy, it will help keep your brain active and healthy as well.
In general, finding a sport like this that one generally enjoys will give you all the motivation to keep playing. Keeping physically active and social is always the best medicine!
But don't take our word for it, see for yourself why Pickleball has become so popular! As our instructor Gina says, “We welcome players of all ages and skill levels. Come out and give it a try, but be careful, it is addicting!”.
Click here for the Pickleball schedule here at PEAC!