Whether or not you’ve taken to the court yet, it’s hard to escape the fastest-growing sport in the United States. Pickleball, the racket sport that’s a Badminton-Ping-Pong hybrid, seems to be everywhere! With its skyrocketing popularity and the demand for places to play, public parks are making renovations to create more courts to keep up with demand, and now empty retail spaces abandoned by the likes of Bed Bath and Beyond are being considered as potential locations for indoor courts.
What makes pickleball so great? JKV Residents Michael and Barbara say it gives them “purpose to get up in the morning and get moving.” Barb says, “When we’re playing, we are using almost all the muscles in the body, and the game connects us socially to so many other residents. We laugh so much when we play! We’re so lucky to live at JKV and to be able to utilize the beautiful pickleball courts, any time of the day, at the new Aquatic Center.” She says the reason they play almost every day is, “A day without pickleball is like a day without sunshine.”
If you’re not already in the game and that hasn’t convinced you, here are 12 reasons why you should be playing:
- It’s Easy to Learn
Pickleball is an approachable sport. Even for those not athletically inclined, it’s a non-intimidating sport that can turn even the most unlikely candidate into an athlete. You can step onto the court and be at an intermediate level within a short amount of time. Unlike tennis, the rules and basic techniques are relatively easy to learn.
- Anyone Can Get in the Game
Whether you’ve always been active by nature, or have always wanted to be, pickleball is suitable for all fitness levels. The size of the court is one-fourth the size of a tennis court. With that much less real estate to cover while trying to hit the ball, it’s less intimidating for those who may not be athletes.
- It Contributes to Longevity
A Mayo Clinic study found that playing racket sports may increase the life expectancy of participants by 6 to 10 years. Although the study was observational by nature, it was noted that because racket sports involve more interaction with others than individual sports, and socialization has been shown to positively impact one’s well-being, this benefit may be a factor in pickleball’s overall health benefit.
- Your Heart Will Get a Low-Impact Workout
Playing pickleball provides a moderate workout for middle-aged and older people but may be safer than tennis for people with heart issues. Although it’s a cardiovascular workout, it doesn’t put excessive strain on the body. You’ll burn twice as many calories as you would walking 3 miles per hour on moderate terrain.
- You’ll Build Muscle and Improve Your Balance
In addition to the boost it gives your cardiovascular system, playing pickleball requires hand-eye coordination, and builds your muscles. Your forearms, biceps, triceps, hamstrings, and quadriceps are all getting a great workout when you play. It can also help your balance.
- It Keeps Your Brain Sharp
Once you master the basic skills of the game, you start to think about strategy. Where is your opponent positioned? Where does their typical serve land on the court? Analyzing the competition, your own placement and strategy, and the desire to keep improving your own game all keep those synapses firing and help keep your mind sharp.
- You’ll Sleep Like a Baby
Playing pickleball is so much fun, you’ll hardly notice that you’re getting a real workout until later in the day. Aside from the physical exertion that’s been proven to have significant benefits for sleep, getting out there and playing helps lower stress levels and helps you relax when the day is done.
- It Promotes Healthy Habits That Can Lead to Weight Loss
Playing pickleball burns eight to eleven calories a minute, so 60 minutes of play can burn 480-660 calories. You’d need to play four and a half hours a week to meet recommended exercise guidelines, but with the enticement of the social aspect, it gets some people moving who would otherwise not be doing any physical activity.
- Get a Confidence Boost
Even for those who historically haven’t been athletic, pickleball is a great entry-level sport anyone can become good at. There’s much to be said for the confidence that physical activity, accomplishment, and pride (especially when you’re on the winning team!) can do for your confidence.
- It’s Good for a Laugh
Pickleball is a very social sport, and most people who play would probably agree that this is one of the things they most love about this sport. Although you can play “singles” (a.k.a. one-on-one), games are often played as “doubles”, where you and a partner compete against another team of two. Inevitably, you’ll get a good laugh. Laughing isn’t just good for your mental and emotional health – it’s “good for the soul.”
- Your Relationships Will Grow
There’s something about spending time together and competing on a pickleball court that fosters mutual respect among players in the game. It’s a great way to get to know someone in a setting that’s typically lighthearted (unless, of course, you’re competing in a tournament).
- It’s Fun for All Ages
Another truly great thing pickleball has going for it is that it’s a sports activity that different generations can play together. In this world of generational divides, especially when it comes to technology-driven activities, pickleball is simple fun that brings people of all ages together.
As always, engaging in any sporting activity is not without risk. Talk to your doctor before starting and find out if playing pickleball is right for you. As part of John Knox Village’s impressive array of amenities, its Aquatic Complex is home to covered pickleball courts adjacent to two sparkling pools and a Poolside Pub.
Want to learn more about what John Knox Village has to offer? Contact us today to take a tour, or for a no-pressure conversation with one of our Life Plan Consultants.