Henderson Senior Health - Pickleball


by:  Carolyn Vanzlow

A few years ago, I started hearing a lot about pickleball from many of my senior clients. It seems like it’s become more popular recently. This intrigued me, and I decided to learn more about pickleball and what the big attraction is for the senior population. Pickleball started out in 1965 when three men decided to create a game that combined badminton, tennis, and ping pong. Pickleball became more well-known around 1984 when the USA Pickleball Association was founded. This gave the sport a lot more notoriety.

When I decided to learn more about this game, I looked for seniors because that was who kept telling me about it. I found one man who was 96 years old and still playing. I believe he coaches others and participates in the sport on a regular basis. 

The Pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, and the net is lower. The paddle is like a ping pong paddle but a little larger. The ball is like a wiffle ball; however, it is a little heavier with fewer holes.

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What makes seniors so attracted to this sport? It’s not as hard on the body as tennis, so it’s easier on your joints. It’s great cardio exercise and keeps you on the move while participating. You are up on your feet, moving around, and this helps with keeping up your bone density. It also has a cardiovascular advantage due to the moving. Pickleball courts can be inside or outside, making it more accessible to play all year round.

Most pickleball courts will have paddles you can rent. You can go by yourself, and there will always be someone you can play with. This is an ideal way to make new friends while keeping in good shape. Great exercise without so much fear of injury. Because it’s not as physically aggressive, you can move slower while learning. The interesting part about looking into pickleball was all the articles and videos of seniors playing and competing in this sport. I saw many videos with players ages ranging from 64 to 94 years old. If you or someone you know is looking for something interesting to try, find a pickleball court and spend some time learning the game while making some new friends.

Seniors playing pickleball will benefit from cardiovascular advantages by improving heart health, increasing cardiovascular fitness, promoting better blood circulation, and helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. All of this has been shown to reduce heart disease. Life looks so much brighter when you are feeling good physically and mentally. Who wants to sit in front of a TV? Go out and have some fun. See you on the pickleball court!

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