Have you ever heard of pickleball? If not, you might miss out on one of the most popular and enjoyable sports for older adults.
Pickleball is a game that blends the best aspects of tennis, ping pong, and badminton, creating a fun and accessible sport that anyone can play. Whether you are looking for a new way to stay fit, make friends, or challenge yourself, pickleball might be your perfect choice.
But don’t take our word for it – read on to find out why pickleball is good for seniors and how you can get started today.
Is Pickleball Good for Seniors?
Pickleball is a sport that can provide various benefits for seniors, such as improving their physical and mental health, socializing with others, and having fun. However, pickleball also has some potential risks for seniors, such as injuries, dehydration, or heat exhaustion, which can be prevented or minimized by following some safety tips.
Therefore, pickleball is good for seniors interested in playing it as long as they know the pros and cons and take the necessary precautions.
What Makes Pickleball an Attractive Sport for Seniors?
Here are a few reasons that make pickleball an attractive sport for seniors –
One of the main reasons why pickleball is popular among seniors is that it is a low-impact sport that does not put too much stress on the joints and muscles. Unlike tennis, which requires running, jumping, and swinging with force, pickleball involves more finesse and strategy than power and speed.
The court is also smaller than a tennis court, which means less ground to cover and less risk of falling or injuring yourself.
Another reason seniors love pickleball is that it is a social activity that connects them with other players and fosters a sense of community. Pickleball is often played in doubles, which allows for more interaction and teamwork.
Many pickleball venues also offer clinics, tournaments, and social events that create opportunities for meeting new friends and having fun. Playing pickleball can also help seniors combat loneliness and isolation, which are common challenges for older adults.
A third reason pickleball benefits seniors is that it can improve their physical and mental health in various ways. By improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiorespiratory fitness, pickleball can reduce the risk of heart disease.
It can also help improve reflexes, balance, range of motion, hand-eye coordination, and muscular endurance, which are important for maintaining independence and mobility as we age.
Moreover, playing pickleball can boost mood, reduce stress, enhance cognitive functioning, and prevent depression, which is essential for mental well-being.
Can Seniors Get Injured Playing Pickleball?
While pickleball is generally a safe sport for seniors, some risks should be considered before starting or continuing to play. Some of the common injuries that can occur while playing pickleball include:
- Sprains and strains of the ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, or shoulder
- Tendonitis or bursitis of the elbow or shoulder
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- Dehydration or heat exhaustion
- Eye injuries from the ball or paddle
To prevent or minimize these injuries, seniors should follow some basic safety tips such as:
- Warm up properly before playing and cool down afterward.
- Maintain flexibility and prevent stiffness by stretching regularly.
- Wear appropriate shoes that fit well and provide good traction and support.
- Wear protective eyewear to shield the eyes from the ball or paddle.
- During and after playing, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
- Avoid playing in extreme heat or cold conditions.
- You should stop playing if you feel discomfort or pain in your body.
- Consult your doctor before starting or resuming pickleball if you have any medical conditions or concerns.
How to Encourage a Senior Player to Pay Pickleball?
If you are a senior who wants to try pickleball for the first time, or if you know someone who might enjoy it, here are some tips on how to get started or encourage them to join:
- Find a local pickleball venue near you by using the USA Pickleball Association website or asking around your community.
- Choose a beginner-friendly session or clinic that provides equipment and instruction.
- Invite a friend or family member to play with you or join a group of friendly players who welcome newcomers.
- Learn the basic rules and skills of the game by watching videos on the USA Pickleball Association website or asking for tips from experienced players.
- Have fun, and don’t worry about being perfect or competitive – enjoy the game and the company.
Why Do Older People Love Pickleball?
Pickleball is more than just a sport – it is a lifestyle that can enrich the lives of older adults in many ways. Here are some of the reasons why older people love pickleball:
- It keeps them active and healthy – playing pickleball can help seniors stay fit, prevent chronic diseases, improve balance and coordination, and reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
- It keeps them social and happy – playing pickleball can help seniors meet new people, make friends, have fun, and feel part of a community.
- It keeps them challenged and engaged – playing pickleball can help seniors learn new skills, develop strategies, solve problems, and stimulate their brains.
- It keeps them young and vibrant – playing pickleball can help seniors feel energetic, confident, and youthful.
Yes, 70-year-olds can play pickleball, as it is a low-impact sport that does not require much running or jumping. 33% of the core pickleball players are over 65. Pickleball can help seniors stay fit, social, and happy if they follow some safety tips and consult their doctor before playing.
In 2021, pickleball players were, on average, 38.1 years old, down from 41 in 2020. It shows that pickleball is attracting younger players as well as older ones. The average age of core players, who play at least eight times a year, is 47.5 years, and the average age of casual players, who play less frequently, is 33.6 years.
Pickleball is generally easier on the knees than tennis, as it involves less running, jumping, and stopping. The court is also smaller than a tennis court, which means less distance to cover and less stress on the joints. However, pickleball still requires some lateral movement and quick changes of direction, which can strain the knees if not done properly. Therefore, pickleball players should warm up, stretch, wear supportive shoes, and avoid playing on hard surfaces to protect their knees.
Pickleball is more than just a sport – it is a lifestyle that can enrich the lives of older adults in many ways. By playing pickleball regularly, you can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercise, the social and emotional benefits of friendship, and the personal and intellectual benefits of learning. You can also avoid or reduce seniors’ common problems, such as chronic diseases, falls, loneliness, and depression.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a paddle and join the pickleball community today. You won’t regret it!
I am a professional physiotherapist and the author of the BallSportsPro. I worked with athletes of all levels, from amateur to professional, and i helped them overcome injuries and improve their performance. I am a certified Pickleball instructor and has been playing the sport for over 10 years.