cChances are, you already know someone who is an avid pickle ball player. America The fastest growing sport—A cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis — can is being played As a singles or doubles game, although doubles are usually more common. Points can only be accumulated by the party making the serving, and the winner is the first team to get 11 points and advance by at least 2 points.
Invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, the baseball game gained popularity during the pandemic, 14.8% grow Between 2020 and 2021 Sports and Fitness Industry Report 2022more than half (52%) of key players – those who play eight or more times a year – are 55 or older, and almost a third (32.7%) are over 65 years old.
Jonathan Casper, associate professor at North Carolina State University who I studied Pickle ball benefits for seniors, considering it “a tool for general health in many ways, both for achieving physical activity and for obtaining the psychosocial benefits that are so important as we age.” Here’s why.
It’s a low impact way to move
Part of the allure of Pickleball, Casper says, is that “while it takes coordination, and you have to be physically healthy to play,” it’s not hard to learn. Because the court is smaller than a tennis court, the net is lower, and as you play with a plastic ball, “it doesn’t take much of your body,” says Arthur Kresswirt, 80, a retired dentist in New Rochelle, New York, who started playing five years ago. “Running short sprints and hitting the ball is minimal, so it’s easier on the joints.”
But pickle ball is still a great exercise. in 2016 study Posted in medicine and science in sports and exercise, Twelve middle-aged players burned 40% more calories during a 30-minute game of pickle ball compared to about 30 minutes of walking, bringing their heart rates into the moderate-intensity exercise zone. Six little weeks study Of 15 people between the ages of 40 and 85 who played for an hour of pickle three days a week showed improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, and cardiorespiratory fitness.
Additionally, regular exercise can help improve balance, which is important in preventing falls as you age. Because pickle ball requires hand, eye, and foot coordination, says Casper, “Your balance, movement, and coordination improve the more you play.”
It is a means of socialization
Search show up Social isolation is associated with an increased risk of dementia, depression, and early death. However, without work or school-age children, it can be difficult to make friends as an adult.
Enter the pickle ball, which Janet Niehaus, 68, a retired teacher in Easley, South Carolina, described as “my socialization.” In the rotating group of 18, I played with her twice a week, “We stand and talk as much as we play.” in recent study of 36 pickle ball players over the age of 65, posted on World Leisure MagazineThose who maintained the social connections they established through sports by continuing to play during the 2020 pandemic months reported improved life satisfaction.
Pickleball’s widening appeal — the Average age of the player You’re 38, which is about three years down from 2020 — it means you’re meeting people you might not be spending time with, says Erin McHugh, 70, author of Pickleball is Life: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Obsession.
“As I got older, I became a staunch proponent of having friends of all ages and from all walks of life,” says McHugh, who plays daily with other devotees ranging in age from 15 to 92. there.”
Courts appeared in community centers, YMCA, and tennis clubs; Search in 2 places running database To find a nearby court. And if you have the space, you can too Set up your own black ball court at home.
It gives you something to get better at
in Research In the psychological relationship between pickle ball and the elderly, Casper found that the competition inherent in the game of pickle ball — rare in other “older-friendly” activities such as walking or Zumba — was a major attraction. When Kreiswirth started playing at age 75, “I was paired up with a guy who’s 92, who can have a stroke like everyone else,” he says. “I thought, ‘Well, if he can do it, I can. “You made me keep playing.”
a Study 2018 Of 153 people competing in baseball tournaments, it was found that playing pickle ball was significantly associated with lower levels of depression in older adults. For retirees, a pickle ball can help restore a sense of purpose after leaving the world of work, says Casper. “People start to form an identity because they are playing more and more,” he explains. “The fact that they can continue to improve, that they are able to compete and have that satisfaction of winning contributes to their quality of life in many ways.”
McHugh says that when it comes to mastering a skill, the sky’s the limit. “You can always get better at baseball,” she says. “This is very satisfying! How many things will be like this when you turn 70? “
It keeps your mind sharp
Not only is physical exercise what made her “so addictive,” says Kathy Garay, 70, who plays six times a week in Encinitas, California. brain workout. “Some people don’t care much about strategy and just want to hit the ball, but to me, that makes the game more exciting,” she says.
While strength and power are useful, “if you know the right position, if you know where to put your opponents, and if you have the right strategy, you can be as good as—if not better—those who are more physically superior and athletic than you,” he says. Kasper.
The confidence boost Kreiswirth gets from playing pickle ball is huge.
“It helped me a lot in seeing myself,” he says. “Yeah, I’m pretty good for an 80-year-old, but there’s an end in sight, and I don’t want to crawl to that end. Pickleball has given me a way to be active for a few hours, break a sweat, and feel really good about myself” .
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