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The Rise of Pickleball and its Health Benefits


When you first hear the term 'pickleball', your initial thought might be of a quirky name for a dish or a quirky cartoon character. However, pickleball is neither of those. In reality, it's an exciting sport that has been gaining immense popularity worldwide.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It can be played both indoors and outdoors on a badminton-sized court, using a perforated plastic ball (similar to a wiffle ball) and solid paddles, typically made of wood or composite materials.

The game was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, by three fathers - Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum - who wanted to entertain their children during summer. Since then, it has evolved from a backyard pastime to a full-fledged sport with formalised rules, tournaments, and a dedicated community of players.

The Fastest Growing Sport in the World

The last decade has seen a rapid growth in the number of pickleball players and facilities around the globe. Originally a North American trend, pickleball has expanded its footprint to Europe, Asia, Australia and other continents.

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) reports that 36.5 million people in the unites States have played Pickleball in 2023 and in Australia that number is 25,000 and rising rapidly.

The Health Benefits of Pickleball

One of the major reasons behind the soaring popularity of pickleball is the plethora of health benefits it provides. Here's a deep dive:

1/ Cardiovascular Health: Just like other racquet sports, pickleball offers a solid cardiovascular workout. The continuous movement, combined with the short bursts of energy during rallies, helps in increasing heart rate, which in turn strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves overall heart health.

2/ Weight Management: Playing Pickleball can burn anywhere from 500 to 750 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of the game. This makes it an effective way to maintain or reduce weight when combined with a balanced diet.

3/ Enhanced Reflexes and Balance: Due to its fast-paced nature, the game demands quick reflexes. This not only sharpens the mind but also enhances hand-eye coordination. Additionally, maintaining balance during shots can improve core strength and stability.

4/ Flexibility and Mobility: As players stretch, lunge, and move in different directions, they improve their flexibility and range of motion. This can reduce the risk of injuries and improve overall physical well-being.

5/ Bone Density: The weight-bearing nature of the movements in pickleball can strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

6/ Mental Health: Beyond the physical aspects, pickleball offers significant mental health benefits. The game demands strategy and concentration, which can sharpen cognitive functions. Additionally, the social nature of pickleball helps in reducing feelings of loneliness and depression, promoting a sense of community and belonging.

7/ Improved Sleep: Regular physical activity, like playing ickleball, can promote better sleep patterns. Better sleep is vital for cognitive functions, emotional well-being, and overall health.

8/ Low Impact: Compared to many other sports, Pickleball is relatively gentle on the joints, making it suitable for all age groups, especially seniors.

Pickleball isn't just a sport with a quirky name. It's a global phenomenon that promises not just fun but a plethora of health benefits. So, the next time someone asks you about pickleball, you'll know it's more than just a game; it's a pathway to a healthier life.


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