A new sport has taken America by storm of late, pickleball. Interestingly, many of its players are seniors. Why is this? Well, it may have something to do with how low-impact it is, but how beneficial it is to health, especially in our later years.
Let’s delve deeper into if seniors can play pickleball, what pickleball is, and why pickleball is so popular (see also: Why Is Pickleball So Popular?)with the older age group.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is like a merging of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played on a badminton court but uses a tennis net, and a plastic ball with large paddles which are quite similar to ping pong paddles. You can play pickleball as singles, (see also: How To Play Pickleball Singles)or as doubles.
Its playing style is quite similar to tennis, but if you are unable to serve like a tennis pro, pickleball is actually perfect for you, as it uses an underhand serve for each start.
It was invented in 1865 when Joel Pritchard, a Washington State congressman, and his family had nothing to do, but they had all the aforementioned equipment. A weekend of fun experimenting led to the birth of this game!
Why Pickleball Is The Perfect Sport For Seniors
For the vast majority of us, playing a sport ends with high school or college, and while you might play some kickball or casual football in your 20s or 30s, maybe some golf, most of the time this is the end of it.
Sometimes you can do a bit of sport in your 40s and 50s if you are gentle with your body, but none of these games really get you competitive and moving enough for it to really be impactful.
As we have less and less activity over the course of time, our bodies become more accustomed to sedentary lifestyles, and the joy sport used to bring us is no more.
This has always been the case until pickleball became popular of course.
Over the last few years, more people have found themselves indulging in pickleball. It is also extremely beneficial to health too, having effects such as helping fight against depression, reducing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, and more!
Let’s check out why the senior community is loving pickleball so much!
One of the primary factors that contribute to the popularity of pickleball is that it is suitable and accessible to all ages and all fitness levels. This is not an accident of course.
Those who made pickleball wanted a fun sport for the whole family, so, it is not uncommon to see different age groups playing together. There may even be former athletes who cannot take part in their sports anymore, but still want to enjoy a sport.
The highest growth rate of player population is actually seen in the senior community, thanks to its accessibility.
Of course, it is also a low cost of entry. With such an increase in demand, many tennis courts and public parks have converted grounds to allow for more pickleball plates to show up and play for no cost.
The equipment is low cost as well, and the balls and rackets can easily be purchased from plenty of big-box retailers for no more than $40! And… That is all you need!
As we get older, even when we are friendly and lively, trying to make new friends can be really hard, especially if you are trying to find friends to be active with.
If you grew up playing sports, it is not easy to find the camaraderie that comes with being teammates. However, playing pickleball, and playing doubles can give you this.
13.8 million (or so) older adults live alone. So, for some, the social interaction that they get playing pickleball (see also: How To Play Against Tall Pickleball Players)might be the only time they get to spend with other people.
Besides, it has been shown that meeting new people and developing friendships is actually really beneficial to health, especially in our older years.
Low Impact, But High Activity
Pickleball courts are only 20 ft wide and 44 ft long, this actually makes them around half the size of an average tennis court. Having a smaller sized court means you do not need to run as much, so there is less wear and tear on tender joints and sore spots.
However, you do still get the cardiovascular workout and benefits of sharp bursts of activity and an aerobic workout.
One of the best ways to work out in the long term is high intensity but low impact. It improves health, be you young or just young at heart.
Even the equipment used in pickleball is low impact in comparison to tennis.
The paddle is light and has no strings, so it is less exhausting on your arms and wrists. The ball is light and hollow, so there is less impact when you hit it. And, since the serving is underhanded for the most part, there are no overhead shots that could cause shoulder strain.
Easy To Learn
When pickleball was invented, there was no long list of new rules for everyone to start learning. Instead, the creators took rules from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.
These rules have adapted and evolved over time, and new rules get introduced every year, but there are still not many.
Most new rules are put into place for the sake of equality for all players and to ensure fair play.
Some may be anxious about trying pickleball because they are unaware of the rules, the vast majority of programs will teach you the game, and there is so much online information about it.
It is also rare to find a pickleball player who won’t adore talking about pickleball, so if you are unsure, you can always ask people on the court, and they are sure to grace you with all the information you could possibly want.
It is not a strain on the brain, and its ease of learning and easy playing makes it ideal for seniors.
Provides A Mental Workout Too
A majority of older people who enjoy playing pickleball (see also: Why Are People Playing Pickleball Naked? [Nude Pickleball Deep Dive])note that it has them hooked because there is a mental aspect to it too. It employs a strategy to get really good. The need for a strategy to excel at it makes it a mental challenge.
You do not need to learn strategy, of course, you can just have fun, but those who want to delve a little deeper into the pickleball world and gain a mental workout from it can get that from the strategy(see also: 9 Best Pickleball Strategies).
Pickleball is not only playable by seniors, but it is recommended for seniors too! Those above 40 years of age are urged to play it as it will help with overall health, socialization, and mental agility.
There are players from age 19 to ages 70 and above, it is a sport you can play at any age, and it turns out that those in the older age bracket love it the most! Seniors can play pickleball, and it turns out that they are pretty good at it too!