My purpose for creating onlineretirementrevenue.com was to show retired people how to make money online, save money, and discuss ways to stay safe and healthy.
I further hope to engage with other seniors and retired people about my experiences in life, including work, play, and positive lifestyles.
In this post, I intend to show the surprising benefits seniors gain from playing the game of pickleball.
What is pickleball?
Wikipedia describes pickleball as “a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis”. My wife and I started noticing pickleball courts at resorts we have stayed at in the past 6 years or so. We even went out and tried it once.
The game was actually started in 1965 by U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum. The three men came up with the game to entertain their children.
They used a whiffle ball, ping pong paddles and was played on their property’s badminton court. It is also said the game was named after the Pritchard’s dog, “Pickles”.
- The Court – A pickle court is 20′ X 44′ and can be used for singles and doubles as in the game of tennis. The net, which also resembles the game of tennis, hangs 36″ on both ends and 34″ in the middle.
- The Paddles – Pickleball paddles are made of either wood, composite or graphite. Generally speaking wood paddles are the cheapest to purchase and composite or graphite paddles can range in price from $50 – $150.
- The Ball – A pickleball resembles a whiffle ball and is made of plastic and weighs close to an ounce and is near 3 inches in diameter.
As of 2017, it was estimated that 2.8 million people play pickleball in the US. It is estimated that 13% of casual players and 75% of core pickleball players are 55 and older. For information about the game itself, including rules of play, please visit the USAPA website.
How can Seniors benefit from playing pickleball?
Many seniors and retired people admit they don’t socialize as much as they used to and many rarely exercise and some don’t stay active at all. There are many activities that seniors can participate in outside of their homes and pickleball is one of those amateur sports that improve mind and body.
When most seniors think about exercise they think of treadmills, swimming laps in a pool or using weight machines in the gym. To most, these don’t sound like fun. Pickleball is good exercise and is really fun to play.
Here are some benefits seniors get from playing pickleball
Cardiovascular benefits – Racquet sports like pickleball require players to move quickly using all parts of the body. This aerobic workout benefits the cardiovascular system and aids in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Flexibility benefits – Because playing pickleball requires you to use your upper and lower body constantly, flexibility is improved. Keeping joints active helps to ease arthritis pain and assists in overall mobility.
Balance benefits – As we age our balance is reduced. A sedentary lifestyle can make balance worse and playing pickleball improves overall balance.
Mental benefits – Low self-esteem and depression are two things that all seniors battle from time to time. When we play a sport like pickleball, endorphins are released improving our mental state.
Social benefits – Many seniors and retired people complain about their non-existent social lives. Pickleball is a great way to interact with other seniors. These social benefits also improve mental state as well.
Ease of play benefits – Because of the size of the pickleball court ( 20 X 44 ) players don’t have to run as much and this is especially true during doubles games. During a normal point, players only have to move as much as four steps in either direction. This puts less stress on feet, ankles, knees, and hips.
Because the pickleball is soft and light, the speed of the game is slower which bodes well for seniors whose reflexes and coordination aren’t what they used to be. And, because of the whiffle ball like characteristics, being hit with the ball will not cause injuries.
The pickleball paddle/racquet is composed of a light solid surface without strings. Unlike a heavier tennis racquet, the pickleball paddle requires less wear on the arms and shoulders.
Hand-eye coordination – Playing pickleball helps with hand-eye coordination which is important since we need this for things like driving a car, unlocking a door using a key, eating, and typing on a keyboard.
Enjoy these pickleball videos:
In this post, you’ve learned a little about what the game of pickleball is, who started the game, what is involved in playing the game and statistics showing its popularity.
Most importantly you learned what benefits the game of pickleball offers seniors. It’s fun and improves your overall mental and physical health.
I plan on writing more posts covering activities that show seniors and retired people ways to improve their mental and physical lives. There are so many things we can do that are low cost, fun, and allow us to be involved socially within our communities.
For instance, I recently published: Beginners Guide: Best Bowling Ball For Seniors. Like pickleball, bowling also helps to improve cardiovascular health, mental health, hand-eye coordination, balance, and flexibility. Most importantly the two activities allow seniors to socialize with other people that share their same lifestyles.
These activities reduce the chances of depression and increase self-esteem. If you have not started playing pickleball but want to learn how there are many resources online to help give you the best information.
In 2018, USAPA made a fact sheet available online that would be a great place to start when checking out pickleball for the first time. You can access that sheet here.
Finally, I appreciate you take the time to read my post. Please feel free to share this post with friends and family on your social media platforms and leave comments below. I will respond to comments as soon as possible.