PICKLEBALL: The Social and Health-Boosting Sport
Pickleball is a sport that is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, particularly among adults. With over 30 million people playing the sport in 2022, it has become one of the most popular sports in the USA. As a native of Switzerland, I have seen many older adults in my hometown playing group games like bocce ball and it is clear that these activities provide a great way for people to stay active, socialize and make friends.
I was personally introduced to the sport by a friend of mine who told me that pickleball saved her life. She was looking for a way to stay active and improve her physical and mental health. She found pickleball and it quickly became her favorite sport. She said that the game helped her to improve her cardiovascular health, build muscle strength, and also helped her make new friends.
Anna Leigh Waters with SportsEdTV
Benefits of playing pickleball
One of the biggest benefits of pickleball is its social aspect. According to a study published in the journal "Psychology and Aging", older adults who were more socially active had a lower risk of cognitive decline and a lower risk of developing dementia. Also, in a study published in the journal "Social Science & Medicine", it was found that social isolation is associated with a 29% increase in the risk of heart disease and a 32% increase in the risk of stroke. Additionally, a study published in the "Journal Of Health Psychology" found that older adults who had a strong sense of social connectedness and engagement in social activities had lower levels of inflammation, which is a risk factor for many chronic diseases. These studies and many others suggest that social interactions are important for maintaining good physical and mental health, particularly as we age. Pickleball is a great way for older adults to stay active and socialize, which can positively impact their overall well-being.
In addition to its social benefits, pickleball is also a great form of exercise. The sport requires players to move around the court, which can help improve cardiovascular health and build muscle strength. It is also a low-impact sport, which makes it accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. This is particularly important in the USA, where we have to fight issues like obesity, cardio problems, and unhealthy habits.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a study in August 2018 to examine the acute and chronic physiological responses to Pickleball in middle-aged and older adults. The study aimed to quantify the cardiovascular and metabolic responses to Pickleball and to determine the effectiveness of a six-week Pickleball intervention in positively modifying cardiometabolic risk factors. The study recruited 15 middle-aged to older men and women between the ages of 40 and 85. The results of the study showed that Pickleball can be a fun and effective form of exercise for middle-aged and older adults. The study found that Pickleball can lead to favorable changes in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and V02max. These changes can lead to a positive effect on cardiometabolic health. The study also found that Pickleball can be a safe and effective workout that yields long-term benefits and encourages lifelong participation.
Pickleball is also a sport that people of all genders and generations can enjoy. It is not uncommon to see grandparents playing with their grandchildren, and the game can be a great way for families to bond and spend time together. This multi-generational and multi-gender aspect of the game is something that makes it truly unique and enjoyable for all.
I personally discovered the sport when I was shooting a video library for SportsEdTV. The website offers a wide range of resources for pickleball players of all skill levels, including a video library and numerous blogs about the game, and a growing community. It is an easy sport to start and no need to be a master to enjoy it.
Why pickleball is easy to start
Another great aspect of pickleball is that it is very easy to get started with and requires minimal equipment. All you need is a pickleball paddle and a pair of appropriate shoes, and you can begin playing right away. The simplicity of the equipment and the ease of learning the game make it accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. Plus, it's very cost-effective, paddles and balls can be purchased for a relatively low cost, and many communities have public courts where you can play for free. This makes it a great option for people who may not have the budget for expensive equipment or gym memberships. Once you have your equipment, you can step on the court and begin playing right away, it's that easy. The rules are easy to understand and follow.
Give it a try! Pickleball is a sport that has something for everyone. It's fun, inclusive, and easy to get started with. It's a great way to stay active and socialize, and it can help improve your physical and mental health. The sport's popularity is growing rapidly, and it's clear that it's a sport that people enjoy.
Whether it's for fun, fitness, or even for therapeutic reasons like my friend, pickleball can be a great choice for anyone looking for a new sport to play.