Pickleball’s Physical and Mental Benefits
Pickleball has been steadily growing in popularity since 2014 as a fun, social way to get exercise. As a mix between tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball is easy to learn, fun to play, and also comes with many physical and mental health benefits. Here is how playing pickleball can improve your physical abilities and help you feel better overall.
Pickleball’s Physical Benefits
There are many physical benefits to playing pickleball, mostly centered around the aerobic aspect of it and the coordination it requires.
Any exercise that increases your breathing and heart rate is aerobic exercise, better known as cardio. Since pickleball gets you moving around the court and working up a sweat, a few games played regularly can strengthen your heart.
Along with strengthening your heart, cardio improves your stamina, as well. With stronger stamina, you will be able to perform other physical activities more easily. Increased stamina also helps you stay focused and feel energized.
Cardio exercise works your whole body, but you use specific muscles while playing pickleball. In particular, your arms, shoulders, and legs are the primary sources of power for your movements. Repeated use by playing regular games can tone those muscles, making them stronger while improving your pickleball ability.
Most sports that use balls require a certain amount of control from players. You have to determine how much power to put behind a hit and choose which direction to send it within a few seconds. Practicing that amount of control regularly can improve your physical command overall, especially your coordination.
As a low-impact sport, pickleball has relatively few injuries. While there is still some risk, as there is for any physical activity, pickleball requires almost no impact, making it an easy game on your body.
Pickleball gives you all the perks of exercise while remaining low-impact, easy, and fun. However, that is not where the benefits of playing pickleball end.
Because players need to react quickly and be ready to return a hit, pickleball will build on your hand-eye coordination. We use hand-eye coordination every day of our lives, so improving it can help you feel more comfortable in your everyday activities.
As a combination of three sports that require quick footwork, playing pickleball can also improve your agility. Having to watch the ball, reach the spot where it is, and hit it back gets your whole body moving and requires you to have all your faculties on the same page. Along with improved agility and coordination comes better balance. Your reflexes, balance, and coordination will get better and better the more you play.
Pickleball’s Mental Benefits
Pickleball is a fun way to unwind and destress. Physical activity releases endorphins in your brain, which are chemicals that relieve stress and pain. Playing pickleball can help you mentally relax while you’re physically “working out.”
Additionally, pickleball is a social sport. Whether you are playing singles or doubles, you need other people to play. Some pickleball players use the opportunity to meet new friends and bond over a shared love for the sport. Others catch up with old friends while getting in some moderate exercise. Either way, pickleball is a great way to improve your social skills.
When meeting other pickleball players, you might make friends with people of all ages and physical abilities. Pickleball is easy to pick up, making it an excellent method of exercise for seniors, kids, and any others that are looking for a sport with moderate physical demands. It only takes a single session of three to four games for new players to get the hang of the sport, so beginners and players of all ages can start playing pretty quickly.
Most importantly, pickleball is fun. It has plenty of physical and mental benefits, but the best part is how enjoyable it is. When you are exercising in a fun way, it does not even feel like exercise. You will receive all the upsides of physical activity without the mental exertion that often accompanies it. The mental benefits can start almost immediately, and it only takes a few regular games for the physical benefits to take effect. Head on over to your pickleball court, bring along a friend or meet up with other players, and get started!
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Pickleball is an easy game to pick up that has many physical and mental benefits. If you are interested in learning more about improving your game, or just getting started playing pickleball, check out our Indoor vs. Outdoor Pickleball article. We help pickleball players play their best and have more fun!
Trey SizemoreTrey Sizemore is the founder of pickleballhut.com, and the host of the 'Dinking Out Loud' podcast. Trey has been playing pickleball for several years and loves helping others discover this great game and improve their skills. Trey has launched several online resources with the goal of helping players of all levels improve their game through multi-format instruction.
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