8 Surprising Pickleball Health Benefits for Seniors

Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Most paddle sports are only for young and active people, but pickleball is not one of them. You see, Florida has the most number of pickleball courts and events. Yet, it's' also known for retirement communities. It's' because pickleball is also for seniors.

If you think you're too old to play pickleball, please don't underestimate yourself. Pickleball is America's' fastest-growing sport because anyone can enjoy it. As you continue reading this post, you'll be surprised about the health benefits it can give you.

#1 Easy on the Joints

Generally speaking, pickleball is a safe sport for seniors who want to maintain an active life. With an area of 20 by 44 feet, pickleball courts are significantly smaller than tennis courts. It does not require much running and jumping compared to other paddle sports. Therefore, it's' easy on your knees, hips, and shoulders and less prone to injuries. More importantly, pickleball paddles are small, and balls are lightweight and made of plastic.

#2 Sharpens Hand-Eye Coordination

It's' common to react slower and have reflex issues as we age. Maintaining hand-eye coordination could be challenging for seniors. Pickleball is a fast-paced sport that forces your eyes to watch the incoming ball. Your brain cells will then send signals to your arm and hands to react faster. By holding a paddle and hitting the ball, you are a step forward in restoring your reflexes to those of your early 20s.

#3 Enhances Overall Muscle Strength

Pickleball requires you to move around the court and swing the paddle in various directions. These repetitive motions trigger your sleeping muscles to move and can help you regain muscular strength. You should also hold your paddle tight enough, which can also help improve your grip strength. In short, playing pickleball is like light aerobic exercise and is better than simply going to a gym.

#4 Good for Cardiovascular Health

Aside from being a low-impact sport, pickleball can help improve your cardiovascular health, even if you're older. Therefore, playing pickleball also helps reduce the chance of developing heart disease. A team of researchers recently conducted a study involving singles and doubles pickleball players aged 52-62. It turned out that over 70% of their playing time was categorized in moderate to vigorous heart rate zones. 

#5 Helps Manage Weight

As we all know, we need to burn more energy than we take in to lose weight. The number of calories burned while playing pickleball depends on several factors, including the game length and intensity. However, according to estimates, pickleball players burn 8-10 calories per minute. That's' 240-300 calories for a  30-minute game. This figure could be less if you're a senior, but it can still help you manage your weight.

#6 Promotes Social Being

As an older person, you may have lost interest in social interactions. But you can meet new people in the same age bracket by playing pickleball. Apart from having some things in common, you can share ideas about the sport. You can discuss some playing strategies with your teammate before the game if you play doubles. You can get to know your opponent more and enjoy friendly talks in singles.

#7 Reduces Stress

Getting old can be stressful, especially if you feel insecure about what you can no longer do. But pickleball, a social sport, can help you regain your confidence. Simply scoring a point can be fulfilling and give you some accomplishment. Overall, the sport brings a sense of happiness, especially to seniors. In fact, a survey concluded that nearly 70% of older adults claimed to have reduced stress after playing pickleball.

#8 Boosts Mental Health

Pickleball isn't just a physical workout; it's also a mental one. With all the focus and quick thinking it demands, the sport is like a brain workout in disguise. Like chess, the rules are straightforward, but you need a sharp memory to remember them. Although this can be crucial for people in their golden years, it also improves their mental health.

Related Post: Joe Gaeta: 96-Year-Old Veteran Teaches Pickleball to Seniors

Final Thoughts

If you're a senior, pickleball can keep you on your toes, both mentally and physically. But most importantly, it combats loneliness and isolation. So, why not give it a try? You might find your new favorite hobby while staying healthy!

Here's' a quick reminder, though. Consult a physical therapist or medical doctor before playing pickleball or any exercise routine to ensure it suits your health condition and abilities.

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