Top Four Benefits of Pickleball
According to CNBC, the popularity of pickleball continues to grow, with more than 36 million people playing the sport in 2023. A hybrid of tennis, ping-pong and badminton, pickleball is officially the fastest growing sport in America. As more people discover the game and play themselves, they’re experiencing improved physical and mental health with every game.
There is plenty to be gained by picking up a racquet, but here are four fantastic benefits of pickleball:
- Make New Friends
Pickleball is a social sport, so whether you play single or doubles, learning the game can put you on the court with other enthusiastic players. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that the camaraderie among pickleball players had a positive impact on the players’ lives. The more deeply involved they were with the sport, the more likely they were to have a positive outlook on the aging process and were more satisfied with their current lives.
- Improve Physical Health
If you get your heart pumping with this form of moderate exercise, it can improve blood pressure levels and help release feel-good endorphins. Pickleball provides aerobic exercise without being as strenuous as many other sports.
Lance Dalleck, a professor of exercise and sport science at Western Colorado University, co-authored a 2018 study that explored cardiovascular benefits as well. “We showed that pickleball players who played at least three days per week … can expect to see improvements in fitness and heart health; namely a 12% increase in cardiorespiratory fitness, a 3.5% reduction in blood pressure and a 5% improvement in good cholesterol,” Dalleck says.
A wide range of studies have shown that the best way to ensure health and longevity is to regularly engage in physical activity. Even moderate exercise has been shown to improve all aspects of health with virtually no negative side effects, and the body remains trainable and adaptable into the 80s and 90s.
- Improve Balance and Agility
Balance is extremely important in preventing falls as we age, and a rousing game of pickleball can improve both balance and agility. Racket sports in general have been shown to improve hand-eye coordination, especially in those who play regularly. Improving coordination can also have positive benefits on one’s overall ability to execute daily tasks.
Pickleball requires players to be attentive and responsive. This improves physical agility, balance, and overall fitness. The need for the mind to be attentive and responsive also improves cognitive function and memory.
- Improve Mental Health
Playing pickleball can lessen depression and stress, as well as boost satisfaction in life and overall mental health. A recent study from Frontiers in Psychology shows that gentle exercise causes an increase in brain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which can lead to feelings of well-being and positive mental health. Pickleball can also act as a form of stress relief by providing a form of distraction that allows players to momentarily forget their worries.