A study by The Apple Heart and Movement Study highlighted pickleball’s growing significance in physical activity.
By leveraging a substantial dataset obtained from Apple Watch users, researchers compared the trends between pickleball and the established sport of tennis.
The findings show the potential health benefits associated with both activities.
Peak Heart Rate
During recorded workouts, participants engaged in extended sessions of both pickleball and tennis, maintaining a peak heart rate at approximately 70 percent of their estimated maximum.
Notably, pickleball sessions exhibited slightly longer durations compared to tennis. However, tennis workouts demonstrated more time spent in higher-intensity heart rate zones and a higher average peak heart rate.
Moreover, the study revealed a notable surge in the popularity of pickleball workouts, surpassing those of tennis for the first time.
Utah emerged as the leading state in terms of recorded pickleball workouts per capita.
The research showed that pickleball and tennis workouts were common across various adult age groups, with a preference among men.
Through comprehensive observation and analysis of participant behavior, combined with data from Apple Watch sensors, researchers gained valuable insights into factors affecting heart health and mobility.
Dr. Calum MacRae, Calum MacRae, M.D., Ph.D., cardiologist and Principal Investigator of the Apple Heart and Movement Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, emphasized the importance of this research:
“The Apple Heart and Movement Study offers us remarkable opportunities to follow participants’ behavior changes and the consequences of these changes on health.
“Following the growth of pickleball using Apple Watch data allows us to explore emerging trends and the effects of activity on multiple metrics of health and wellness that were not accessible before.”
Help future generations:— American Heart Association (@American_Heart) October 12, 2023
1 Install the Research app on your iPhone
2 Select Apple Heart & Movement Study
3 Read the intro & consent to share your Apple Watch data
The @Apple-sponsored study is a collaboration between @American_Heart and @BrighamWomens https://t.co/LHQAaRSlQK pic.twitter.com/6hrQDtk8qM
The Apple Heart and Movement Study, one of Apple’s three public research initiatives, is conducted in collaboration with esteemed institutions.
It enables researchers to expand the scale and scope of their scientific knowledge. This endeavor underscores Apple’s commitment to integrating scientific findings into its features and products.
Upon evaluating over 250,000 pickleball and tennis workouts recorded on Apple Watch, researchers discerned that pickleball sessions tended to be slightly lengthier, averaging 90 minutes compared to tennis’s 81 minutes. Additionally, they noted a higher variability in playing time for pickleball.
In terms of intensity, tennis workouts exhibited a nine-beats-per-minute higher average peak heart rate than pickleball sessions. This translated to 152 beats per minute for tennis, compared to 143 beats per minute for pickleball.
While both sports displayed similar trends in time spent within specific heart rate zones, tennis workouts demonstrated nine percentage points more time in higher-intensity zones than pickleball.
The study also took into account the potential impact of these activities on mental health.
Results indicated that individuals engaged in frequent pickleball and tennis activities showed lower scores on the depression screening tool. This highlights the positive influence of physical activity on mental well-being.
In July 2023, the number of participants engaging in pickleball surpassed those participating in tennis for the first time. Notably, tennis workouts exhibited seasonal fluctuations, while pickleball workouts demonstrated a consistent upward trajectory.
Mike Nealy, USA Pickleball’s chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased to see pickleball-related findings included in the Apple Heart and Movement Study.
“There are numerous benefits for individuals of all ages and backgrounds on the pickleball courts as part of a healthy, social, and active lifestyle.
“As the sport’s national governing body in the United States, it’s increasingly meaningful to see the science behind pickleball using real-world data from Apple Watch.
“Pickleball’s relatively low-impact, informal, and social nature can offer a useful and enjoyable outlet for those looking to increase movement and add to their workouts.”
Utah emerged as a notable hub for pickleball, boasting the highest participation per capita.
The study reflects the sport’s ability to engage individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds in a healthy, social, and active lifestyle. Additionally, it noted that players engaging in at least 10 pickleball workouts tended to be older than their tennis-playing counterparts.
Overall, the research offers valuable insights into the relationship between physical activity and heart health.
With over 200,000 participants in the United States, it is a significant contribution to our understanding of health and fitness.
For pickleball enthusiasts, the Apple Watch provides a range of tools to enhance their experience, including specialized tracking features and communication options.
Furthermore, technology like the upcoming double tap gesture in select Apple Watch models aims to streamline the user experience for active individuals even further.
Indeed, you can now track pickleball sessions on Apple Watch. Go to the Workout app, choose “Add Workout,” and then “Pickleball.”
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