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05/05/2022

Health Benefits Of Playing Pickleball

Pickleball Health Benefits

Written by Paddle Expert, Ben Croft. A former racquetball World Champion.

We all know how much fun pickleball is. Heading out to the courts after work or on a weekend, joining your crew for a friendly battle between the lines, and enjoying some natural vitamin D. There’s nothing better! But there’s also a secret perk to pickleball that we may not always think about, and that’s the health benefits that pickleball offers us, both physical and mental! Using the pickleball workout feature on my Apple Watch, I tracked pickleball workouts over a handful of sessions lasting anywhere from 1 hour and 52 minutes, to over 2 and a half hours. Here’s what I saw.

Get that heart rate up! 

Across the workouts, my average heart rate ranged from 137 bpm to 150 bpm which is definitely on the higher end of physical strain! Those numbers were well worth it while playing grudge matches against good friends that won’t let you forget about the L they just handed you! According to Harvard Health, “Heart rate is important because the heart's function is so important. The heart circulates oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. When it's not working properly, just about everything is affected.” There are a million different ways to get your heart pumping, but none of them are as fun (in my opinion) as earning bragging rights and winning epic dink battles. Below is a chart of recommended heart rates during exercise for healthy adults.

 

Target heart rate during exercise

Age (years)

Minimum - Maximum heart rate (BPM = Beats Per Minute)

15-19

123 - 164 BPM

20-24

120 - 160 BPM

25-29

117 - 156 BPM 

30-34

114 - 152 BPM

35-39

111 - 148 BPM  

40-44

108 - 144 BPM

45-49

105 - 140 BPM

50-54

102 - 136 BPM

55-59

99 - 132 BPM

60-64

96 - 128 BPM

65-69

93 - 124 BPM

70-74

90 - 120 BPM

75-79

87 - 116 BPM

Burn calories, burn! 

Once that heart starts pumping and the beads of sweat start dripping down your forehead, you know the calories are melting! Pickleball is highly ranked  as a sport that burns a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time. In my four workouts, I burned 1,013, 1,177, 1,327 and 1,163 calories respectively. Why is that important? Mostly so I can grab a burger guilt free on the way home! :) But equally as important, burning calories forces your body to access energy stored in the form of fat. According to a Facebook post by USA Pickleball in 2014, pickleball play can burn "250 calories in 30 minutes for casual play if you weigh 150 pounds, 335 calories if you weigh 200 pounds. If you play more aggressively, then you can burn approximately 360 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 150 pounds, 475 calories in if you weigh 200 pounds."

Simon says, “touch your toes!” 

One of the less talked about benefits of this crazy game is the flexibility and mobility we maintain because of the mechanics of the sport. I definitely recommend stretching before and after your matches and feel that the ability to remain limber is a natural benefit of playing pickleball. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of dynamic stretching before your workout, and static stretching after. 

Stretching for an overhead, lunging 100+ times for those well-placed dinks, or extending to your max to retrieve an opponent’s drive - flexibility is a big part of our sport . According to Harvard Health, “Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible,” and this means that exertion "won't put too much force on the muscle itself." Simply put, flexibility is a key factor in preventing injuries. So, do as Simon says, and touch your toes! 

Play hard, feel good!  

Mental health has never been a more prominent topic of discussion than over the past few years. The importance of exercise in maintaining or improving your mental health has been well-documented for decades, but studies continue to prove the health benefit of activity stretches beyond a physical boost. Physical activity causes a release of endorphins, a natural, pain-killing chemical your body produces when your heart rate increases and blood starts flowing. This release of endorphins causes your body to respond positively, both physically and mentally. The feeling of “Cloud 9” is the best way I can describe a rush of endorphins in writing! 

Regular exercise can also lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety, and help with depression. Knowing how welcoming the pickleball community is, being a part of a close-knit group of pickleballers can add an even greater boost of confidence and well-being than you might find participating in another physical activity! 

--

I could write forever about the benefits, both physical and mental, of the great sport of pickleball. But I'd rather you get out to the courts and play! If we can help in any way, please feel free to reach out to us at any time. Our Paddle Experts are available via phone at 866-382-3465, email at experts@justpaddles.com, or you can click here to live chat. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for product launches, pickleball news, and just some plain old fun! Remember, at JustPaddles, we’re here for you from Click to Court! 

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