The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of intense exercise weekly. A quick way to determine your intensity level when exercising is this rule of thumb from Better Health Channel: If you can talk and sing without puffing at all, you’re exercising at a low level. If you can talk but not sing, you’re exercising at a moderate level. If you can’t say more than a word or two while exercising you are exercising at an intense level.
The benefits of exercise include improved brain health, reduced risk of certain diseases, strengthened bones and muscles, and improved heart health. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce short-term feelings of anxiety in adults, improve sleep, and decrease the risks of depression.
Exercising at least 150 minutes a week can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. According to the CDC, physical activity may also reduce the risk of serious outcomes from infectious diseases like the flu and pneumonia.
Yet, despite the many benefits of regular exercise, according to the 2020 National Health Interview Survey, only 24.2% of people met the guidelines for the needed weekly exercise. Many physicians stress to their patients that the most important thing for their health is to find an exercise they like and do it regularly. As a health educator, I’m always looking for ways to get people to move more.
This is where pickleball comes into play. While pickleball may look “easy” to the casual observer, you can work up quite the sweat while playing.
I recently convinced a younger (30s) tennis-playing friend to try pickleball. He was apprehensive at first but decided to come play anyway. The next day, he texted that he was surprised by the workout and the newly formed bruise on his knee. I told him the bruising depends on the player, as most of us don’t dive, but the workout was par for the course.
USA Pickleball says you can burn between 250 and 335 calories, depending on your weight, by playing casual pickleball for a half hour. When playing with more intensity, you can burn between 360 and 475 calories.
Of course, anybody who’s played pickleball knows it’s nearly impossible to play JUST a half hour. Once the balls start bouncing and popping off paddles, the adrenaline gets churning. You want to stay on the court as long as possible.
Plus, you’re always playing with at least one person, and often three other people. The small court size means you are in close quarters, providing plenty of opportunities for interaction and making pickleball a fun social sport. Social sports create camaraderie, which is beneficial for mental and emotional well-being. This is a major factor in why people keep coming back to the pickleball court.
The bottom line is that playing pickleball helps people stay healthy. The fact that pickleball is so enjoyable means you’ll want to play longer, meaning you’ll get more exercise. If you have a friend or family member who wants to increase their fitness levels and isn’t quite sure how, you should invite them out on the court a couple of times. You’ll be helping a friend or family member get some exercise while helping the game we love grow. That’s a win-win!
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ATI Physical Therapy – Your Therapeutic Ally On And Off The Pickleball Court
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