Pickleball burns around 300-700 calories per hour, depending on the intensity of your game. Pickleball burns fewer calories than tennis, but a similar number of calories as racquetball and more than badminton and ping pong. Pickleball's fast pace forces you to frequently move around the court, making for an excellent cardiovascular workout.
How many calories do you burn playing pickleball?
The number of calories burned while playing pickleball depends on a variety of factors. A person’s age, weight, metabolism, level of fitness, and overall health directly impact the number of calories burned.
A person of average height and weight burns between 8 to 12 calories per minute during the typical game of pickleball. This range is also dependent on the level of intensity that the person plays. Casual play burns fewer calories than playing in competitive matches.
According to the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA), the typical pickleball match played at tournament-level standards is between 40 and 60 minutes long.
Here’s what that means for the number of calories burned:
- If you’re playing at a lower intensity for a shorter period of time (8 calories per minute for 40 minutes), you’ll burn about 320 calories for that match.
- If you’re playing at a high intensity for a longer match (12 calories per minute for 60 minutes), you’ll burn about 720 calories for that match.
Based on the intensity variable, a good rule of thumb is that you’ll burn around 300-700 calories per pickleball match.
Is pickleball considered a high-intensity activity?
It can be high-intensity but can just as easily be casual. One of the best parts of pickleball is its accessibility for all levels of players.
Unlike other sports that have barriers to entry, anybody can play pickleball. Both professional and casual players of the game can enjoy a workout at whatever pace they like.
At high levels of play, pickleball can be incredibly physically demanding as players fly around the court. To stay in position to hit the ball, players need sufficient skills in agility, endurance, hand-eye coordination and strength. It isn’t as simple as swinging a pickleball paddle to hit the ball. Pickleball requires you to move every part of your body and keep your heart rate up in order to participate effectively.
How pickleball affects other aspects of your health
According to Mike Zehner, a clinical exercise physiologist at Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, pickleball “helps with hypertension, strengthens your immune system, supports mental health, helps regulate blood sugar, helps you sleep, and the list goes on. There is also a believed link that exercise can decrease the chance of early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
It is estimated that adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week, and playing a few games of pickleball is one of the activities that can get you there quickly.
Staying motivated to go to the gym can be difficult, so having a fun, social game like pickleball that can double as your means of working out can be an absolute game changer for your overall well-being.
How many calories pickleball burns (compared to other sports)
|Sport||Calories Burned Per Hour|
Pickleball is about on par with racquetball in terms of workout intensity, and can even match running for the number of calories you can burn while playing.
The sport that pickleball is most frequently compared to is tennis. So how do they match up when it comes to calories burned? While the two games are very similar, there are two major factors that make tennis require a bit more physical exertion: the size of the court and the length of a game.
The standard size for a pickleball court measures 44 feet in length by 20 feet in width. The regulation size for a tennis court in a doubles game is 78 feet long and 36 feet wide, which is considerably larger than a pickleball court. This means that each player in a doubles match of tennis is responsible for a much larger area of play compared to doubles players in a pickleball match.
A game of pickleball ranges between 40 and 60 minutes long. In tennis, matches average about 90 minutes, meaning that tennis matches can sometimes last twice as long as the typical game of pickleball.
Comparing the average calories burned in an hour of pickleball and tennis, tennis averages between 500 to 800 calories per hour and pickleball averages between 300 to 700 calories per hour. So, while both sports offer a good amount of exercise, tennis demands a little bit more from the body than pickleball does.
Overall, pickleball is a fantastic way to stay in shape as long as you play with a competitive level of intensity. If you put your all into your body’s movements while playing pickleball, you’ll be rewarded with a great way to stay healthy and in shape.
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