Is Pickleball Good Exercise? Everything You Need To Know!

It is good for your overall health to participate in sports, and there are a variety of sports you can choose from. A sport like pickleball, for instance, is both interesting and beneficial to your health.

pickleball playing
\BHPix – iStock

According to the professional organization, approximately 4.8 million Americans participate in pickleball, a sport that attracts people of all ages. Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s 2022 report ranks pickleball as the fastest-growing sport in America.

What makes pickleball such a great workout? Is pickleball good exercise? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the benefits of this popular pastime.

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Is Pickleball a Good Workout?

Pickleball requires you to move your body in all directions during short bursts of physical exertion. In addition to strength and hand-eye coordination, endurance is a must. Your heart rate will rise during specific periods of the match, and you’ll start and stop playing constantly.

Pickleball a Good Workout
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It’s a cycle of heart rates that are increasing and decreasing spontaneously. It becomes harder for you to breathe, and your muscles become fatigued. Heart-rate-raising exercises force your body and muscles to take in more oxygen by increasing your heart rate.

Many people find pickleball a fantastic exercise because it is primarily a cardiovascular exercise.

Health Benefits of Pickleball

The game of pickleball is often associated with retirees. It is actually a great workout for people of any age because it is such a fast-paced sport. Exactly why? Whether you are a beginner or a pro, pickleball offers a variety of paces in which to play – from leisurely to competitive. While having fun in a friendly atmosphere, pickleball provides a number of hidden health benefits.

1. Physical Health Benefits

It is popular with people of all ages, especially people who have been injured in other sports or wish to improve their heart health. Pickleball is often seen as a sport for seniors, but it is also popular among younger people. There are several physical health benefits associated with pickleball, including:

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  • Less Stress on Your Joints

Various contact sports are more likely to cause joint injuries and can wear out your joints or permanently damage them. Compared to other sports, pickleball is significantly easier on your muscles, tendons, and joints. Despite its popularity among older adults and those who have been injured playing other sports, this sport does not harm the body as you age.

  • Lowers Heart Disease Risk

By playing pickleball, you can improve your heart health and control or prevent heart disease, hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks. In addition to lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar levels, and burning calories, pickleball can help you maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Improves Balance and Strength

Paddle yoga can be a fantastic, agile pickleball workout while toning your muscles and improving your balance at the same time. The increased stability you gain from playing helps you avoid falls while performing other daily tasks. Performing paddle strokes on the narrow court will improve your ball control as well.

2. Mental Health Benefits

Aside from its physical benefits, pickleball is also a great way to build social connections and improve mental health. Pickleball has the following mental health benefits:

  • Reduces Depression

You can boost your self-esteem and confidence by exercising since it releases feel-good chemicals or endorphins. As well as helping people cope with anxiety and depression, they can also help them cope with stress. A player’s sleep and eating habits are likely to improve when the player is happier.

Read on to explore how are calories burned in pickleball.

  • Increases Social Connection

Everyone in the family can play pickleball, bridging the generational gap for many. It has been proven that group sports promote social interaction and help players form strong connections both on and off the court.

Nutrition Tips for Pickleball

You can improve your pickleball game by fueling up before playing. Nevertheless, not everyone needs to pay attention to this. As long as you eat a healthy diet, you likely don’t need to add extra nutrition for casual pickleball play, says Goodson the instructor.

Get a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats by eating a meal or snack every few hours. As you consider food and hydration choices before, during, and after pickleball, here are a few additional tips.

  • Before Playing

Goodson recommends eating a carbohydrate-protein snack if you haven’t eaten for a few hours and plan to play for an hour or more. You can eat a hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit, a protein bar, or a granola bar and string cheese.

  • After Playing

Goodson recommends eating your normal meal afterward or grabbing a snack with protein, such as low-fat chocolate milk, a smoothie, or a bar. It depends on how intense your pickleball game was and when you eat your next meal when it comes to your post-pickleball nutrition. You might not need to eat anything if you’re not hungry if pickleball is more social today than exercise.

Nutrition Tips for Pickleball
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  • During the Play

If you’re not playing in an all-day tournament, you won’t need to refuel while playing pickleball. Take a snack containing both carbohydrates and protein during the break between games, or refuel quickly with sips of a sports drink, she recommends.

When you’re outside, it’s especially important to stay hydrated. Goodson recommends adding an electrolyte supplement to water if you’re playing for long periods in a hot or humid environment. When moving consistently, drink 5 to 10 ounces every 20 minutes, and between games, 5 to 10 ounces.

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What is the fitness benefit of pickleball?

Keeping a healthy weight can be achieved with moderate-intensity exercise like pickleball, which lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and regulates blood sugar levels. Your paddle – and your entire body – will give you a great workout while toning muscles and improving your balance.

How much exercise do you get from pickleball?

The results of a 2016 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that 12 middle-aged pickleball players burned 40% more calories than they did walking for 30 minutes, increasing their heart rates to levels within the moderate-intensity exercise zone.

What are the benefits of playing pickleball?

This sport offers aerobic exercise, allowing players to move around the court at their own pace. It improves balance, coordination, and agility because pickleball moves at a slower pace than tennis.


One of the most appealing things about pickleball is that it’s just plain fun! You can play pickleball regardless of your skill level or fitness goals if you’re looking for a fun way to exercise.

Make sure you warm up before picking up your paddle! People who say pickleball is easy or not a good form of exercise has probably never played the game.

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